Funeral for slain 11-year-old boy held in Toronto
Published Saturday, July 28, 2007 7:30PM EDT
The 11-year-old Toronto boy shot dead in the crossfire of an alleged gang fight was laid to rest Saturday morning in the city's northwest end.
Hundreds of people gathered outside Emmanuel Church of the Nazarene to say goodbye to Ephraim Brown, who was shot in the neck outside a north Toronto townhouse while attending a birthday party last weekend.
Police, who have attended funerals related to gangs and gun violence since an 18-year-old was shot at a service two years ago, were also on hand -- as well as Toronto Argonauts head coach.
"The pastor said it best the celebration of his life is much story than his death," Mike "Pinball" Clemons said after the service.
Ephraim's cousin, Randy Brown, was one of the relatives that traveled from Newfoundland to say their goodbyes.
He delivered the eulogy, describing his little cousin as a polite, respectful boy who had dreams of playing pro basketball and soccer.
"The family's really suffering ... we're just really suffering," he said.
Brown said mourners, who packed into the church for the hour-long service, made the best of a tragedy by binding together.
"I've seen the community come together. The family is stronger ... everyone's stronger over this."
Three people, including at least one alleged gang member, have since been charged in Brown's death.
In the wake of the shooting, the province pledged Friday to spend $26 million to hire an additional 200 provincial police officers and dedicate 53 of them to cracking down on illegal guns.
But the executive editor for Jane-Finch.com, a website dedicated to the Jane Street and Finch Avenue area in Toronto, told CTV Newsnet enforcement isn't the best way to target gangs.
"I think that the community has made it clear that what we'd like instead is those kinds of funds being put into investment into the community," Phanath Im said.
"(More enforcement) is not addressing real underlying causes -- guns aren't the wellspring of gang violence."
Im said to get to the root of the gang problem, the province has to tackle poverty.
"It comes down to dollars and cents," Im said.
"Youth go into gangs because their parents don't have enough money for them. It's a matter of keeping up with the joneses -- as well as feeding themselves."
Three people have been arrested in connection with Brown's shooting.
With a report from CTV's Chris Eby