The Canadian nightclub industry is mourning a veteran in event security who died in a shooting at a music festival in Mexico early Monday.
Friends have identified Kirk Wilson, 49, from the Stoney Creek area of Hamilton, as one of five people killed in a shooting at the BPM electronic music festival.
Miguel Angel Pech, the attorney general of Quintana Roo state, said two of the people killed appear to have been part of the security detail at the 10-day festival.
Former event promoter Neil Forester said that Wilson was planning to be in Mexico for about two weeks, working security for the festival. The Quintana Roo government website lists Wilson as the BPM security supervisor at the Blue Parrot nightclub.
"He was the friendliest — the nicest guy," Forester said, fighting back tears. "He always put other people in front of himself."
Forester said that Wilson's family is still reeling from the news, and not yet ready to speak publicly. Friends say that Wilson had two small children.
Pech said the shooting occurred about 2:30 a.m. at the nightclub, one of the festival's venues in Playa del Carmen, just south of Cancun.
He said a lone gunman apparently entered the nightclub and began to exchange fire with another person inside. Festival security personnel tried to stop the shooting and came under fire.
Rodolfo Del Angel, director of police in the state of Quintana Roo said the shooting was the result of "a disagreement between people inside" the nightclub and said security guards had come under fire when they tried to contain the dispute.
Friends said Wilson was a veteran of the entertainment industry, having worked security for Toronto nightclubs like The Guvernment and Cube, as well as working personal security for celebrities and for events like the NBA all-star game.
We're monitoring the situation in Mexico. My sympathies to the family of the Canadian confirmed dead as a result of today’s shooting.
Adrian Marshall said that he worked with Wilson for six years at The Government. "He was just a decent, humble and hardworking guy," he said. "I won't be able to forget him today. I can't."
Marshall said that Wilson had a "very large physical presence," and so was often tasked with standing at the front door of clubs. His disposition and calm nature helped him defuse any situations that arose, he said. "I never saw him ever treat a patron badly."
A spokeswoman for Global Affairs Canada confirmed at least one Canadian fatality among the victims and was trying to verify a report that a second Canadian was also killed. She said two Canadians were among the injured.
The BPM Festival posted a statement saying the attack involved "a lone shooter."
We are overcome with grief over this senseless act of violence and we are co-operating fully with local law enforcement and government officials as they continue their investigation, BPM said in a statement posted on Facebook.
Mick Cocos, who was friends with Wilson, told CBC News he was in the area of the club on Monday night, but not inside when the shooting took place.
This shocking act of violence is in no way a reflection on the way the Blue Parrot/BPM run their events, he said. In my opinion it's an isolated incident.
Kirk put his life on the line, you can't trust anyone anymore, he said.