Parents of Connor Whitehead pay tribute to their son; police urge suspect to surrender

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Nov 09, 2021 |

The parents of Connor Whitehead have paid tribute to their son who was shot dead in Christchurch last Friday night.

Cheryl Mirren and James Whitehead were at the Christchurch police station to make a public plea for a fifth suspect to hand himself into police.

Four people have been charged over the Burnside High School student’s death, while a fifth is being sought.

A 32-year-old man has been charged with murder and remains in hospital recovering from injuries sustained during his arrest on Sunday evening.

Connor’s dad James said he was at a party with his friends. He should have been safe and he should be home with us.”

”Connor did not know the people who killed him. He was not involved in whatever it was it sparked this unimaginable outcome. Our family had no connection to those involved in this horrible attack.”

Connor’s father James Whitehead | Source: One News

“While we have many questions that need answers, right now we want to remember and celebrate Connor for the amazing son, brother and friend he was.   

Connor was loved by everyone and he cared about his family and friends deeply.

Connor was an incredible brother to William, Cordelia and Emma and a special son to myself and Cheryl. 

We were and continue to be so proud of him.

He had an amazing group of friends from across the city and they were so important to him and he was important to them. As friends, they loved each other and it is a comfort to us that some of Connor’s friends were with him when he passed. 

He was an amazing kid who loved music and volleyball, and he would have been a great man.  We are devastated that we will not see him live his life and reach his potential.

Connor had dreams, he had plans to go to university and study law. 

He was very focussed and for all those dreams to be taken from him and us is tragic. Connor and I were father and son but we were also mates. 

We were looking forward to seeing the new Spiderman movie next week.  We had tickets to go to the Snoop Dogg concert and we were excited about it.

I have not only lost my son but also my best friend.  To everyone who has supported us since Friday night thank you. 

Your love and support means a lot to us and we are truly grateful.

Thank you to the emergency staff who responded on the night and to the Police for their work in holding the people responsible for Connor’s senseless death to account.

We would like to reiterate the Police’s message to the individual who has not yet come forward.  Do the right thing and hand yourself in.

Right now we want to focus on Connor as we organise his funeral and celebration of his life.”

Detective Senior Sergeant Nicola Reeves | Source: One News

Detective Senior Sergeant Nicola Reeves said police are seeking a fifth person in relation to the murder and have a message to those helping him: “We urge you to put yourself in the shoes of Connor’s family. Connor had his whole life ahead of him.”

“The purpose of today is to appeal to that person that now is the time for you to come forward and speak with us. For anybody who is out there or assisting this person, and anyway, they need to contact us. Because we will be looking to hold anybody to account who is helping this person evade.”

“That person is aware that they are being sought. And we encourage them to come forward and speak with us. The message is very simple. Now is the time to do the right thing and come and speak with us. Connor had his whole life. Ahead of him and this brutal and senseless incident has robbed that from him and his family.”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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