A Malvern woman who died after being shot in the face on her doorstep of her home may have been trying to protect her youngest son, according to a police source.

The Globe and Mail reports the unnamed source said Jean Springer, 60, intervened in an alleged altercation between her 26-year-old son Antoine and his friend.

"It looks like there was some kind of dispute between the two young men and Ms. Springer got between them and got shot," the police source told the newspaper.

Springer died from the single gunshot wound to her face during the New Year's Day incident at her home on Snowball Crescent home, near Markham Road and Sheppard Avenue.

The source dismissed reports that the gunman yelled "Happy New Year" as he opened fire.

Police arrested Altaf Ibrahim some 12 hours later at his Scarborough apartment and charged him with first-degree murder.

The shooting was not gang-related, police said.

Springer, a religious woman and well-known community figure known as "Auntie Jeannie," became the city's first homicide of 2007.

Hundreds of friends and family gathered at the nearby Malvern Methodist Church Tuesday night to mourn her death and celebrate her life.

Youth pastor Marlon Mitchell described her as "quiet, charming, intelligent and very much understated in manner."

"Jean had a forgiving spirit and we are sure that she would want us to forgive whoever has committed this senseless act," Mitchell said.