A year ago, Samantha Price was out celebrating a friend’s birthday on what her father described as a perfect summer evening when shots rang out on the Danforth.
Speaking with CTV News Toronto, the 18-year-old’s father Ken Price said his daughter had texted him on July 22, 2018, to let him know the group was going for ice cream.
About 20 minutes later, his phone rang.
“Samantha’s name comes up, but it’s not Samantha on the other end,” Ken Price said.
The person on the other end of the phone line was a doctor who was helping to treat his daughter’s gunshot wound. Ken Price said his daughter had been shot at point blank range, but was somehow able to get inside to safety.
“She managed to scramble from where she was shot and into this restaurant,” he said. “And the doctor called us and told us what was going on.”
Samantha Price was one of 13 people injured during last summer’s shooting rampage. Her friend Reese Fallon and 10-year-old Julianna Kozis were killed.
“It’s hard thinking about what we’re approaching,” Samantha Price’s mother, Claire Smith said. “I think in a way it helps with some of the healing.”
Samantha Price has recovered physically, but her parents say psychologically she struggles with what happened.
“There are reminders of the fact that Reese isn’t with them anymore, and that things aren’t the same,” her father said. “So I think that part has been difficult for her.”
Samantha Price was one of eight friends caught up in the Danforth shooting—four of them sustained gunshot wounds and survived. Her parents say that group has leaned on one another as they grapple with what happened.
“I can’t imagine how lonely it is if you go through this by yourself,” Ken Price said. “So for Samantha, having the group support, the other families, the other people she could talk to…that was a huge part of her recovery.”
Her recovery is ongoing, and her parents say there are certain situations that trigger painful memories.
“She’s very hesitant to out and about on her own,” Smith said. “She’s better off with her friends, and being with a group she knows.”
Despite her trepidation, Price did venture out last month to the Raptors’ Championship parade. She was near the stage at Nathan Phillips Square when shots rang out, and while she didn’t physically witness what happened, her parents say being that close to another shooting was traumatic.
“She phoned home to us, and was obviously rattled,” Smith said. “And she just asked, ‘where do I go? What do I do?’”
Ken Price said in both shootings, concealed handguns were used, which is something he and his family want to make harder to access.
“The more guns out there, the more risk to public safety,” he said.
The Price family has spent the past year lobbying the federal government to enact stricter gun laws, hoping to make it harder for people to gain access to hand guns.
“She was just minding her own business and she turned out to be the target of someone’s hate,” Ken Price said.
In the meantime, the Price family will join hundreds of others on Sunday at Withrow Park and Monday at Alexander The Great Parkette to pay tribute to those killed in the Danforth shooting—and to say thank you to all who have helped them through this difficult year.
“We are grateful to live in a city that cares,” Ken Price said.