Police are appealing for witnesses to break the “code of silence” and come forward with information about the recent shooting death of a 15-year-old boy in Toronto’s northwest end.

Two days after high school student Jarvis Montaque was gunned down at close range outside the Rexdale housing complex where he lived, Homicide Detective Sgt. Gary Giroux asked Tuesday for help in solving the murder.

“To make a marketable prosecution I need witnesses to come forward and tell the truth,” he said, adding: “I understand that there is this traditional code of silence in the community, but if this young man is going to be avenged tangibly within the courts, those witnesses have to come forward.”

The teen had been outside the housing complex on Jamestown Crescent late Sunday night with a group of friends when a lone gunman approached. The suspect was about three metres away when Montaque was shot by a single bullet, investigators say.

With the shooter still at large, police are also trying to determine a motive for the shooting, but say they believe Montaque was the intended target.

Giroux said those who were with Montaque at the time are co-operating with police. Montaque was not known to police.

Police only have a vague description of the suspect. He is described as a young, black male who was wearing dark clothing.

In a statement read by police, one of Montaque’s 10 stepsisters said her brother was a dutiful, loving young man who came straight home after school each day. Montaque had moved to Canada from Jamaica two years ago.

“The community needs to know that he was never a bad person and the person who killed him, killed him because he could,” the statement said.

Students at Father Henry Carr Secondary School, where Montaque was attending Grade 10, said Tuesday the teen was quiet and funny, CTV Toronto’s Tamara Cherry reported.

One youth said she would bump into him in the hallway and rather than get upset like some of his peers, Montaque would smile and say hello.

At the press conference Tuesday, detectives were joined by the mother of another recent homicide victim and the pastor at Montaque’s church, both of whom called for an end to gun violence, which in recent weeks has claimed the lives of five young GTA men.

Montaque is the city’s eighth homicide victim of 2013.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact police at 416−808−7400 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416−222−TIPS (8477).