Family of Toronto teen killed in shooting raises funds to help end gun violence
The family of a teen gunned down this summer in the city’s northwest end held a memorial Saturday to mourn the young man and raise money to help stop the gun violence that has plagued the area in recent months.
Family and friends gathered to remember Tahj Loor-Walters, 15, who was shot the night of July 28 after he approached two men in a car in the parking lot of Yorkwoods Plaza, near Jane Street and Finch Avenue. He died in hospital two weeks later.
“He was super lovable, had the best heart (of anyone) I’ve ever met in my life to date,” said Eliana Conte, the teen’s aunt. “He loved everybody.”
The event, which included a BBQ, music and face-painting, was organized by Loor-Walters’ family to raise money for local community groups.
The Jane and Finch area has been hit with a spate of gun violence this year. Loor-Walters was the city’s 37th homicide victim of 2013, and the fourth 15-year-old to die of gunshot wounds.
The teen’s father, Jack Loor, said the area needs more resources to keep kids off the streets.
“We need more (recreation) centres opening up, more things for kids to do, afterschool programs,” he told CTV Toronto.
Mega-union Unifor pledged to help eradicate gun violence by creating a coalition of community leaders, members and activists from across a broad spectrum.
Unifor’s Roland Kiehne said the union is determined to foster lasting change.
“There are far too many of these memorials that take place in this community,” he said. “People are inspired at the end of those memorials to do something to affect change, but then nothing happens.”
Meanwhile, investigators say they believe people in the community have information on the area shootings. They are asking those with information to contact police.
Loor-Walters’ mother Symone Walters had a message of forgiveness for those responsible for her son’s death, saying she holds nothing against them.
“My son is gone. He was a great kid, but I still have to live on through him and I know that his strength is allowing me to forgive those children,” she said.
With a report from CTV Toronto’s Scott Lightfoot