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Jal family searching for answers in Arbour Lake shooting death

The family of a teen found dead in a northwest Calgary greenspace is looking for answers – for them, and for their community.

Jal Acor Jal, 16, was found in Arbour Lake Thursday evening around 8:30 p.m. Emergency crews responded to reports of an injured male near the 100 block of Arbour Meadows Close NW. Once they arrived at the scene, he was declared dead.

Calgary Police Service Homicide Staff Sgt. Sean Gregson confirmed Jal was shot, and said they have reason to believe it was not random. They are examing all possibilities.

Akeir Kuol, the aunt of Jal, spoke at the conference, and was joined by 12 family members and friends.

“It would mean so much to understand why this happened,” Kuol said.

“It would mean so much to also [bring] awareness to the community of how dangerous it is out there, and also awareness to parents. As a mother of four, I fear for my children as well. I need safety in our communities.”

Help from the community

Gregson said Calgary police have interviewed teachers, school mates, coaches, teammates and members from the public.

“To lose someone at a young age of 16 is both shocking and tragic,” Gregson said.

Gregson is asking people to provide any information about suspicious activity from Thursday night between 7 and 9 p.m.

Residents in the area of the 100 block of Arbour Meadows Close NW, the 200 block of Schumer Place NW, and the 100 to 200 blocks of Scenic View Close NW are asked to provide any assistance to the police on the investigation.

“We’re asking you to check your properties for anything that’s suspicious or something that may have been discarded,” Gregson said.

“We’re working hard to locate any information that could be out there, including video. And we’re still canvassing the areas in the streets.”

Gregson would not reveal further details on the death.

Achan Acor Jal, another aunt of Jal’s, described Jal as a ”very respectable and kind young man.”

“He did very little to make everyone smile because he was naturally a friendly and affectionate person,” she said.

Jal played basketball and football for St. Francis High School. He recently discussed with his family the possibility of playing basketball in the U.S.

Residents are asked to provide information or dashcam footage to the Calgary Police Service. Anyone with informtion can call 403-266-1234.

Jal family statement

The Calgary Police Service supplied this statement on behalf of the Jal family.

Statement from Achan Jal and Akeir Mel Kuol on behalf of the Jal family:

Today we have brought close family, coaches, and friends to share a little about Jal and to ask for everyone’s help in solving his case.

Jal Acor Jal was a very respectable, polite, kind young man. His presence would light up the whole room when he entered. His soul was so pure. Jal was so loving and thoughtful. He did very little to make everyone smile because he was naturally a friendly and affectionate person.

Jal would always check up on his father who is in a wheelchair and bring comfort and reassurance that he will be okay. He lived with his grandma who needs emotional attention. He would be the first to say good morning, and the first to comfort her when she was feeling heartbroken and in physical pain. 

Jal would regularly check up on his mother who is currently living in Lethbridge. He would ask how her day was going and see about her health, telling her how he couldn’t wait for Christmas so he could get all the brand name accessories.

He was on the junior basketball team and junior football team at St. Francis High School.

He recently discussed with his family and coaches about continuing his basketball game in the states.

 This tragedy has broken so many people’s hearts, we never saw this day coming, no one is ever prepared for such pain of losing their child.

The entire family appreciates all the sympathy we have received from individuals, the City of Calgary, St. Francis High School, and all other communities that have made an impact on Jal’s life. We are grateful for your kind words and financial support.

At this time, we the family, and the Calgary Police Service are working together to solve this case, but we cannot do it by ourselves. We need any information that may help solve this case. We are pleading with Arbour Lake community and the nearby communities that if anyone has seen anything or has a camera that may be beneficial for this case please contact the police with the information. It’s takes individuals and families to keep a community safe. We are hoping for the best.

Jal Jal will always be remembered and loved by his family and friends.

Thank you.