A 26-year-old man has been charged in the New Year's Day murder of a beloved Malvern wife and mother.

Jean Springer, described by friends as a devout religious woman, died Monday afternoon after being shot in the face on the front steps of her Snowball Crescent home, near Markham Road and Sheppard Avenue, at about 2:30 p.m.

The suspect is believed to be a friend of Springer's two sons.

Springer had reportedly invited the suspect into her home to talk, a gesture her friend Edson Thomas said was something Springer would have done.

"She was an extremely patient, hard-working person," Thomas said Tuesday. "The sort of person that everyone would want to be a friend of."

His feelings were echoed by Norma McKenzie, who had known Springer for the past 10 years.

"When she would speak to people, it was about God," McKenzie said. "Never had a mean word to say to anyone."

Friends gathered at Malvern Methodist Church, where Springer was an active member, for a Tuesday evening prayer service in her memory.

Police launched an investigation into the fatal shooting almost immediately after it occurred on Monday.

The shooter reportedly wished Springer a happy New Year before allegedly pulling the trigger at point-blank range, killing her in broad daylight.

Springer was taken to Sunnybrook hospital but was pronounced dead.

Unconfirmed reports said the suspect may have been suffering mental health issues.

Early Tuesday morning, officers arrested a suspect in his home in the Scarborough Golf Club Road and Brimorton Drive area without incident, police said.

Altaf Ibrahim was charged with first-degree murder and was set to appear in court later in the day.

Police kept a tight lip about the case, which was Toronto's first homicide for 2007, choosing not to release a motive for the shooting.

Investigators said the arrest followed tips from the public.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Gary Grinton or Detective Dan Sheppard at 416-808-7400, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477). Information can be left online at www.222tips.com.

With a report from CTV's Roger Petersen