Malvern shooting victim was devoted to family, community: friend
Joshua Freeman, CTV News Toronto
Published Tuesday, July 25, 2017 9:03PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 26, 2017 7:55AM EDT
Family and friends of a man who was gunned down in broad daylight in Malvern Sunday are describing him as a devoted father, son and brother who didn’t deserve a violent death.
Shots rang out in the area of Epringham Drive and McLevin Avenue at around 6:45 p.m. on July 23.
Crews arrived at the scene to find one man suffering from a gunshot wound and he was pronounced dead a short time later.
On Tuesday evening, police confirmed that the victim is 25-year-old Demal Graham of Toronto.
Speaking with CP24 Tuesday, family friend and neighbor Karen Clarke said Graham was a young father who was active in his community.
“He was very involved in the community. I would call him even a pillar of the community around here,” Clarke said. “He helped babysit people’s kids. He was a devoted father to his own daughter.”
She said Graham was in fact watching his six-year-old daughter play when he was gunned down in the driveway of his childhood home.
While Graham had had some run-ins with the law in the past over drugs, Clarke said he was working hard to take his life in a different direction.
“He was more than his mistakes and he was committed to rewriting who he was,” she said.
She said Graham was a talented music producer who had recently received a grant to develop an after-school music program for youth.
“He was very excited about a music program because he felt music was very powerful for healing and he was interested in rolling this out for kids in this school who don’t have an opportunity to get a lot of therapy, support and counselling, things like that,” Clarke said.
Clarke has set up a Gofundme page to raise money for the family to cover funeral costs and to help them move forward after the loss.
Shaunae Brown, Graham’s younger sister, told CP24 that her brother had an amazing sense of humour and was always there to protect her.
“He didn’t deserve to go this way. He literally sat in the basement and worked on lyrics and he had songs out. Some they weren’t even released yet, but he had songs out,” Brown said.
“Now there’s nobody to come down at four o’clock in the morning and make some fried hot dogs and pierogis and eggs, just listen to music and just dance in the kitchen, nobody to make jokes.”
Neighbours said they heard the sound of a man and woman arguing prior to the shooting, however police have not commented on a possible motive for the killing so far.
Investigators have said that they are looking for a suspect described as a brown man in his mid-20s, with some facial hair. He was last seen wearing a hooded sweatshirt and was seen speeding away on McLevin Avenue in a light-coloured, four-door sedan.
Police, family and friends are appealing to anyone with information to come forward to police.
“People know something. Always people know something,” Clarke said. “I would plead on behalf of the family that they come forward and speak. If this was your brother, your son, your friend, you would want someone to speak out so that justice could be served.”
The shooting happened just blocks away from another deadly shooting at a backyard barbecue that left two other men dead earlier that day.