Veronica’s daughter thought it was fireworks.
“Oh Honey, that’s too loud for fireworks,” Veronica said. A second bang followed.
Veronica Phalen holds a picture of her husband Ed with their kids, as she stands on the same doorstep she stood on two years ago when she saw her husband’s killer fleeing. Phalen was shot to death in front of their home two years ago. No arrests have been made in the case. ADAM MACINNIS – THE NEWS
She walked to the front door and opened it. Walking up the street was a person with a hood pulled up.
She saw the van was in the yard, so knew Eddie must be back from getting the cigarettes she’d asked him to pick up.
“Babe?” she called. But there was no response.
She got on her coat and walked out to look for him. It didn’t take long. He was just down the street in front of their next-door neighbours’ property lying on the ground. She ran over to him, but he was already dead. She believes he must have been down the street because he was leading the attacker farther away from his house where he knew his children were inside.
Today, two years later, she wants nothing more than to know who the person was walking up the street that night and why they shot her husband. She wants it for herself and for her four children. For two painful years, they’ve waited.
“It’s beyond hard. You have four babies asking all kind of questions you don’t have answers for,” Veronica said. “We just need to know what happened.”
Despite a reward of up to $150,000 offered last year for anyone who had information that could lead to a conviction in Eddie Phalen’s death, police still haven’t been able to find out who killed the 44-year-old father in front of his home.
Veronica has been left to raise their four children alone. All four were awake the night their dad was shot and she’s seen the impact it’s had on their lives.
“They know too much. In my opinion it’s more than any adult should have to,” she said. “My oldest girl is terrified to death if I even walk out the door.”
While she has her suspicions of who might have done it, Veronica says she’s left to only guess.
While that person who shot her husband and then, according to witnesses, stood over him and fired a second time to finish him off gets up every day and spends it with their family, her husband is left in the grave.
“I don’t understand how they can live with themselves.”
Eddie was a big man but he was a teddy bear, Veronica says. He was the kind of guy who would do anything for anyone. She remembers him rushing into the house one day searching for a pair of his old shoes. A man down the street was in need – he had holes in his shoes and his feet were wet. Eddie was determined to help so brought his old shoes and a pair of dry socks down to the guy.
If a kid in the neighbourhood needed help a their bike, Eddie was there to help. He set up a trampoline for the kids to play on.
”He was like a big kid himself,” she said.
Veronica’s mother Gail MacKenzie is on disability and remembers how anytime Veronica couldn’t get a hold of her, Eddie would stop by to see if she was OK.
“His heart was so big. He was the first one there for family,” MacKenzie said. “He stood up for family all the time.”
She wishes now someone would stand up for their family.
“It sickens me for my grandchildren. I look at them and I cry because I think, he should be with them.”
She too misses him and said she doesn’t believe a day has passed in the last two years that some tears haven’t been shed for the man.
“I don’t know that I knew what an impact he had on my life,” MacKenzie said. “I knew I loved him. I didn’t know he had such an impact until he wasn’t here.”
Veronica says she’s not afraid, but she doesn’t trust anymore. She keeps her children close because she wants them to be safe.
MacKenzie believes police have done the best they could with the information given, although sometimes Veronica admits she wonders if they had more on their hands than they could handle at the time, with the Amber Kirwan investigation going on at the same time.
But both believe there is someone out there who can give police the answers they’re looking for – someone who can identify the man who left on foot from the scene that night.
“People just need to not forget. Please, if you know something, you might not think it’s important but it might be exactly what we need,” Veronica said.
She believes it’s for the good of the community as well that the murderer be found.
“This person has to be insane. No one in their right mind would ever do something like this. And they’re still out there.”