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'Big loss': Fear and sadness grips Ghanaian community, high school students after Toronto bus shootings

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Several communities are grieving and living in fear after back-to-back shootings last week in northwest Toronto, with those connected to the victims still reeling with shock.

Arriving in November from Ghana, 40-year-old Adu Boakye had just begun his new life in Canada. Last Saturday, he was shot and killed while walking by a bus stop in the area of Jane Street and Driftwood Avenue.

Boakye’s Ghanaian community in the GTA is now organizing a vigil exactly one week after his death, on Feb. 24 at 1 p.m. by the bus stop. Vigil organizers are asking people to bring flowers and say everyone is welcome.

One of Boakye’s closest friends, Richardson Adorsu, described him as jovial, and told CTV News Toronto he has four children between the ages of two and 17. Adorsu created a GoFundMe to help pay for Boakye’s funeral and help support his wife and kids back home.

Adu Boakye's vigil poster.

“Adu was the primary provider for his family,” he wrote. “This devastating situation is a big loss for a family who is so far [away] and cannot be here to see Adu for the last time.”

Emmanuel Duodu, president of the Ghanaian-Canadian Association of Ontario, said their community is “traumatized and very concerned.”

“He was somebody who was really excited about this country,” Duodu said. “We can only fathom a wife, a mother, a father being called to be told that your son, or your husband, or your father, who came to Canada has been shot by somebody randomly. That, to me, is heartbreaking.”

Local high school students are also sending prayers for the 16-year-old boy who suffered life-altering injuries after he was shot in the face at another nearby bus stop last Friday, with support being offered at school.

“We had a meeting with volleyball teams and wrestling teams because he was part of it, and we just talked about supporting and being there for each other,” said one Grade 10 student.

Officers have said while the incidents have the hallmarks of gang violence, that is not confirmed, and it’s not clear yet why the violence took place.

A police released image of a homicide suspect in connection to a shooting in the Jane Street and Driftwood Avenue area.

Police are still looking for the suspect, an 18 to 25-year-old man, along with more information about a stolen black Acura RDX. Officers say the suspect got out of the vehicle before firing at both victims.

“Our teacher said it was OK not to do work because it was very sad,” said another Grade 12 student. “I’m just imagining that I could have been that person. My friends could have been that person. It’s just terrible.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Toronto’s Police Chief Myron Demkiw visited the command post set up in the parking lot at the Driftwood Community Centre to create safety and listen to concerns.

“It’s really disheartening, but there are a lot of other issues attached to gun violence, tentacles attached to this, community issues, poverty, racism, marginalization,” said Rev. Sky Starr, a therapist and minister at Out of Bounds Grief and Trauma Support. 

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