Family, fellow artists attend vigil to honour 34-year-old father killed in hit-and-run
Andre Alexander appears in this undated photo. (Instagram/@hip_pop_art)
Kayla Goodfield, CTV News Toronto
Published Friday, October 12, 2018 9:23PM EDT
Standing hand-in-hand at a vigil in Kensington Market on Friday night, the family of a 34-year-old artist killed in a hit-and-run collision earlier this week said the young father always motivated others, especially youth, to live out their dreams.
Andre Alexander was riding his electric longboard in the area of Sheppard Avenue East and Doris Avenue at around 1 a.m. on Monday when he fell off. He was struck by a vehicle that was heading eastbound on Sheppard Avenue East 10 seconds later.
The driver of the vehicle involved in the deadly crash reportedly got out and quickly checked on Alexander before fleeing the scene, investigators said.
Alexander was taken from the scene to a trauma centre by Toronto paramedics where he was later pronounced dead.
His mother Yvonne Alexander-Inman said her son, commonly known as “Hip Pop Art,” was her voice of reason.
“No matter how hard it gets you have to trust God and Andre lived that,” she said standing amongst a crowd honouring her son. “He would always say ‘I know it looks rough right now, but God is working, I know he is.’”
Alexander-Inman said seeing the support at the vigil was “heartwarming.”
“I just cannot tell you how overwhelmed I am with joy because just to see the love for Andre is incredible – it’s just amazing.”
Standing alongside his mother, Alexander’s brother said the large turnout of people proved that he touched everyone he connected with.
“It definitely gives me comfort just knowing that my brother touched so many people,” he said. “I just want to thank everyone for coming out… I know he appreciates it a lot.”
“He was just always a person who was up and on the move, ready to go and then when he would meet people he tried to inspire everybody that he met. Everyone is just going to have their own thing to hold on to. He was my best friend and he was a good friend to a lot of people.”
The vigil – held in the area of Spadina Avenue and Baldwin Street – featured many paintings of the victim by artists inspired by Alexander.
“We have a painting of Andre as an angel leaving his daughter with the love he had instilled in her for the last five and half years of her life and this wall over here is Andre Alexander, the hustler, the hardworking individual,” Steep Daniels said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up in the memory of Alexander to help the family with funeral costs and provide a trust fund for his daughter.
The young girl’s grandmother said she is not ready to talk about losing her dad but she has her family supporting her.
“She did tell me that her mommy was going to miss her daddy,” Alexander-Inman said. “We’ll be here for her forever and she’s good.”
“She was the light of his eyes. He would get up early to take her to school and just spend as much time with her as he could and just always be there for her. He loved her – there was no comparison.”
Alexander-Inman said her son wanted to start a foundation in the Kensington Market community to help children pursue their passions.
“There is not enough happening in the community for children so he wanted to start a foundation where he could teach them to find their best selves, whether it be art or photography or music, he had connections in all of those different areas so he wanted to teach them to tap into their talents to make money that way instead of selling drugs,” she said.
Daniels said a mural created in Alexander’s honour is meant to inspire young artists that he cared deeply for.
“We hope to inspire a new generation and let his spirit live on and his legacy live on in that way.”
While family and friends continue to mourn Alexander’s death, investigators have provided a description of the suspected driver and vehicle involved in the crash.
Officers said they are looking for an Asian woman in her 40s with shoulder-length hair. A child was in the back of the vehicle, described as a silver or grey Toyota Yaris, according to police.
An image of the suspect vehicle captured by a witness of the crash has been released by investigators.
Anyone with further information is asked to contact police at 416-808-1900 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).