Relatives of slain teen Zakariye Ali targeted by gunman hours before funeral
Rachael D'Amore , CTV News Toronto
Published Friday, October 13, 2017 10:42AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 13, 2017 6:28PM EDT
A funeral service will be held today for a 16-year-old boy who was gunned down in the parking lot of an Etobicoke elementary school parking lot.
On the evening of Oct. 8, Zakariye Ali was with two other men in the parking lot of Kingsview Village Junior School near Dixon Road when they came under gunfire.
Emergency crews rushed to the scene to find all three suffering from gunshot wounds.
Ali was quickly transported to hospital but did not survive.
The two others, an 18-year-old man and a 19-year-old man, were treated and have since been released.
The service will be held at the Khalid Bin Al-Walid Mosque in Etobicoke this afternoon. A GoFundMe page has also been set up to help the family with funeral costs. It had raised about $1,000 of its $5,000 goal as of Friday morning.
In the wake of the murder, Ali’s cousin remembered him as a “fun” and “caring” person.
“Everyone loved him,” Asha Jama said.
Ali’s death has also reignited calls for help in Etobicoke’s Dixon neighbourhood.
On Thursday, the community gathered at Kingsview Village Junior School where they begged Toronto police, the city and the province to do more to combat gun violence.
Farhia Warsame, the executive director of the Somali Women and Children’s Support Network, told reporters that the community has been “emotional” since Ali was shot and killed.
She claims false promises were made to the community by organizations and that little support remains to help prevent youth from becoming a part of a dangerous lifestyle.
They invited Ontario’s Minister of Child and Family Services, Michael Coteau, to visit the tragedy-stricken neighbourhood to see first-hand how the violence has affected them.
“There (are) a lot of people and other organizations claiming they offer programs in Dixon, such as mentoring programs, outreach programs, prevention programs but none of that is happening in this area,” she said.
According to police, the suspect they’re searching for is a black male in his 20s with a slim build. He was last seen wearing all-black clothing and is about five-foot-seven inches tall.
Gunfire threatens family on eve of funeral
In the early morning of Friday, mere hours before Ali’s funeral, a group of his relatives and friends were caught amid gunfire while walking along a pathway in the city’s east end.
Police say a group of about seven adults were near Chester Le Boulevard and Morecambe Gate at around 1:20 a.m. when a male suspect approached them and opened fire.
Approximately five shots were fired at the group but no one was hit.
Police confirmed to CP24 this morning that the victims are in fact Ali’s family and friends.
The group was discussing funeral arrangements for the boy when they were ambushed.
The suspect was last seen getting into a waiting vehicle, possibly a white Mazda or Nissan, and heading south on Victoria Park Avenue.
One of the relatives told CP24 he feels lucky to be alive after the encounter with the gunman.
“The guy came from in front of us,” the man, who prefers not to be identified, said while at Ali's funeral. “We saw him but at the beginning we were thinking just another guy walking you know. Suddenly he started shooting, shooting. He shot five, six shots and then he ran back. We were all frozen. Some of us fell down, some ran. I don’t know. When I keep thinking about it now, we were lucky.”
Another family member said that the gunman was about five metres away when he brandished the gun and opened fire.
Those who attended the funeral this afternoon praised Ali as a "good guy" who had "so much to live for."
“Every day we are losing people from our community and we just can’t help it," a funeral attendee told CP24. "Stuff like this always happens and it hurts our community more than it hurts any other community. Every time we get a tragedy like this you see mothers crying.”
A heavy police presence could be seen outside the mosque prior to the start of the service. The police presence is as the request of Ali’s family.