Brand manager killed in shooting on Queen West described as ‘gifted’ by family
Katherine DeClerq, CTV News Toronto
Published Wednesday, July 4, 2018 7:24PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 4, 2018 9:08PM EDT
One of two men shot on Queen Street West last weekend died on an operating table at St. Michael’s Hospital – the exact same place he was born, his father told CTV News Toronto.
In an exclusive interview with CTV News Toronto, the father of 28-year-old Ernest Modekwe, also known as “Kosi”, described his son as a gifted child who was positioning himself to launch his own brand of clothing and was developing his own branding business. He worked with a hip hop collective called Prime and was set to sell his product at the Eaton Centre, his father said.
“I still don’t believe that Ernest is gone,” Owkii Modekwe said. “This guy is so talented and for what has happened, I don’t know what to say.”
Modekwe’s sister said she is “devastated” by the loss of her brother, describing him as generous and “full of life.” She said her brother had a dream to “continue to brand ‘The 6ix.’”
He just really wanted to make a mark on this world,” Chinasa Modekwe said. “If you were to stay with him in a room, it’s impossible not to be friends with him. It’s impossible not to like him.”
Modekwe’s girlfriend of five years was wearing a white T-shirt emblazoned with the word “Prime” when she spoke with CTV News Toronto on Wednesday.
Tyneesha Du said her boyfriend texted her at 7:31 p.m. on Saturday, making her one of the last people to communicate with him before he was shot.
“It honestly doesn’t feel real. I’m just waiting for someone to call and say it was all a mistake,” she said. “We would talk every day from sun-up to sun-down. I wake up and it’s so weird that I can’t talk to him. I haven’t really processed what is going on yet.”
The pair was supposed to go on a vacation on Tuesday, travelling overseas to London, Amsterdam and South Africa. They often spoke of marriage, children and travel.
“I feel like I’ve already planned my whole life with him in my head, you know, and it’s hard to accept that it’s not going to happen.”
Modekwe was one of two men killed in a brazen shooting outside Cube Nightclub near Queen Street West and Peter Street Saturday night.
Police said that three people, two men and a woman, were struck by bullets that night. All of the victims were rushed to a local trauma centre, but the two men succumbed to their injuries.
A 37-year-old woman was injured in the shooting but is expected to survive.
The other person killed has been identified as 21-year-old Jahvante Smart, a rapper who went by the stage name “Smoke Dawg.” Smart was part of the hip hop collective Prime.
Owkii said he was told that his son was shot in the back. He doesn’t believe Modekwe was the target of the attack.
“I think he was in the right place at the wrong time,” Owkii Modekwe said. “I don’t think anyone would target Ernest. He doesn’t have enemies.”
Du echoed Owkii’s statement, describing her boyfriend as a protector and a leader, not someone who would look for a fight.
“Kosi is the kind of person that if a fight were to break out, he would be the person to break it up,” she said. “He was someone every man looked up to.”
Modekwe’s father told CTV News Toronto that he moved to Canada from Nigeria. After seeing the number of shootings in Toronto, and being personally impacted by it, he wants the laws to change.
“I come from Nigeria where we have too much violence (and) killings. Canada has been a very peaceful nation and people come here to live peacefully and now Toronto is no longer safe because of a particular group of people,” he said. “You can’t blame the judiciary that these criminals are being let out on bail. No. The laws need to be changed.”
The family is urging the suspects involved in the shooting to turn themselves in and face the consequences of their actions.
“When they are arrested I will be in the court for every day of the proceedings. That is when I will address my issues with them because we can’t live our lives in fear. We can’t continue that way. My daughter is going out and I am afraid. Is she going to come back alive or not? We can’t live our lives like this. It’s impossible.”
-With files from CTV News Toronto's Tracy Tong