Residents of North York apartment building want action after teen killed in stairwell
Published Tuesday, August 6, 2019 3:14PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 6, 2019 10:56PM EDT
Days after a 16-year-old boy was found by shot to death inside a stairwell in his North York apartment stairwell, frightened residents want to leave.
Hanad Abdullahi was shot after returning home around 12:30 a.m. on Aug. 1 following a night of playing video games at a friend’s unit in the building next door.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police investigate after a 16-year-old was shot dead in North York. (CTV News Toronto)
His death was the second shooting in the area in a month. Residents like Samantha Harrison, who has lived at 30 Falstaff for eight years with her husband and daughter, wants to move out.
Many residents CTV News Toronto approached didn’t want to talk about the recent violence, but Harrison said she has reached a point where she’s had enough.
Standing in the 12th floor stairwell, where bullet holes dot the wall after Adbullahi’s murder, Harrison said she felt very uneasy.
“I can’t do these stairwells, I get very bad anxiety coming in here,” she said.
Samantha Harrison and her husband Leroy sit in the unit looking at a picture of their 15-year-old daughter. (Nick Dixon/CTV News Toronto)
The blood has been cleared up, but the shock and sadness lingers.
Harrison heard the gun shots the night of the murder, but was too afraid to find out what had happened.
“You don’t want to investigate. Doesn’t matter what kind of noise it is. You don’t want to go out and investigate, because you don’t know what’s on the other side of your door.”
Outside the building Harrison tells CTV News Toronto her 15-year old daughter Tearia is afraid to come home. She was jumped and beaten in a stairwell at the end of June, and between that and the gun violence, she’s told her mom she’s had enough.
“She’s scared. She don’t wanna be here. And I don’t blame her, because no-one’s safe here. I get anxiety coming out as a grown woman.”
Seventeen-year old Raneen Khoury grew up with Abdullahi, and while they weren’t as close in recent years, she’s still devastated by his death.
“Towards people as young as me, it’s pretty tragic because we live here, and it’s like so dangerous.”
Khoury has her own survival strategy for living in an area where she says each building is equally dangerous.
“I just stay out in the day, and I come in during the night. Because most of the dangerous stuff happens during the night.”
Community meeting held amid gun violence
A meeting was held at the Falstaff Community Centre Tuesday evening “in response to the recent incident of violence affecting the community.”
Frances Nunziata, the councillor for York South-Weston, hosted the meeting along with representatives from Toronto police, Toronto Community Housing and the city.
Dozens of residents were in attendance, including Abdullah's mother Hodan Ali.
She told CTV News Toronto that she actually heard the fatal gunshots shortly after her son left the apartment.
"The people who kill my son? They don't have to hide themselves, they have to come out, they have to be a man if they kill innocent child they don't know," she said.
Abdullah's aunt Deeqa Alibarre also spoke with CTV News Toronto. She said her nephew ultimately had his life cut short because of where he lived.
"He didn't deserve that. He was a good kid. He had so much life, so much ambition so many things to look forward to and his life was cut short because he lives here," she said.
A poster is seen in hallway of 30 Falstaff Ave announcing a community meeting on Aug. 6, 2010. (Nick Dixon/CTV News Toronto)
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders speaks at the Falstaff Community Centre on Aug. 6, 2019. (Tracy Tong/CTV News Toronto)
Ahead of the meeting, the CEO of Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) Kevin Marshman, told CTV News Toronto that the agency will be making some changes in the Jane-Falstaff community starting in September.
“This is a community that is suffering and understandably so. I do believe that the gun violence that we are witnessing across the city, that we really need out community partners and all levels of government to come together to find a solution,” Stevenson said.
TCHC will be hiring fulltime community security unit officers to work in the evenings seven days a week. Marshman also said that TCHC will be improving lighting in the area and installing cameras at the end of the roads to capture license plate numbers.
“Those are just a few of the things we are working on,” he said.
But Harrison says the community needed action much sooner, and gives an exasperated sigh as she points to one of the posters on the wall and says, “It’s a little too late for that.”
“Now you want to see how you can make our community safe. But we’ve been complaining.”