The victim, believed to be in her 60s, was struck point blank in the forehead Monday afternoon after opening the door to her home on Snowball Cres., near Sheppard Ave. and Markham Rd.
Paramedics rushed her to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre just before 3pm, but it was too late to save her.
Investigators aren’t providing many details at this point but it’s believed her family was inside the house at the time.
“Every unnecessary death shocks me,” said Det. Gary Grinton of the homicide squad. “It’s a tragedy for any person that’s just minding their own business to be shot and killed.”
Though police weren’t releasing her name, those living in the neighbourhood say the victim is Jean Springer, a mother of two who was active in the local church.
“She was a community activist but her arena she chose to be involved with the community was through the church,” said Vilma Blenmann, a member of the victim’s church. “This is not the kind of woman who would be involved in something violent.”
There was widespread disbelief that a woman who did so much for her community would die such a horrible death on the first day of 2007.
“Very sweet, very pleasant. More than willing to help you,” recalled neighbour Travice Felthman. “Always says ‘good morning’ to you, always says ‘good evening’ to you.”
She was reportedly known to many as simply ‘Auntie Jean.’
“When I hear something like this, you know, it’s really a big hit to me,” said distraught friend Joe Henry. “Because, you know, to me it’s like my sister got shot, or my mother.
“It’s painful. Really painful.”
Police aren’t speculating yet on a motive for the unthinkable crime. But there were several undercover officers on the scene at one point, which may suggest that investigators know who they’re looking for.
Mayor David Miller was also saddened to hear of the murder. He won re-election on a campaign that included a vow to devote resources to at-risk communities.
“It’s a very sobering reminder (that) we simply have to get the guns off our streets,” he said.
Anyone with information for police in the murder case can contact the Homicide Squad at 416-808-7400 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).
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