North York community remembers man killed in random shooting

Members of the Driftwood community in North York hold a vigil to stand firm against acts of gun violence after an innocent father was fatally killed in a random shooting. Afua Baah has the details.

By Afua Baah

Dozens gathered at the Driftwood Community Centre in North York on Saturday to remember the life of an innocent father whose life was tragically cut short after he was killed in a random shooting.

“Adu Boayke was going to be the breadwinner for the family and he is no longer there, there is a void in that family,” said Emmanuel Duodu, president of the Ghanaian Canadian Association of Ontario.

The 39-year-old came to Canada from Ghana just a few months ago for a better life for himself and his family.

On Feb. 17, he was walking to a bus stop near Jane Street and Driftwood Avenue when he was fatally gunned down in broad daylight.

Just 24 hours earlier, a 16-year-old boy was waiting for a bus in the same area, when he was shot in the face. His injuries were life-altering. Toronto police say both these victims were shot indiscriminately.

Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow also attended Saturday’s vigil with a message of support for the community, but also a warning to those responsible for Adu-Boakye’s death.

“We are also saying to the killer, that Toronto is a beacon of hope, that’s why immigrants come to this country … we will get you. We will not allow you to strike fear in our hearts,” said Chow.

A police command post will remain outside the community centre for the foreseeable future in order to serve a dual purpose; community outreach and to deter any potential acts of violence.

“We’re here to create a footprint in the aftermath of what’s a tragedy, not only for the 16-year-old man who was shot, but we’re also here today for Adu Boakye … we’re also invested in this, in the community safety, and making sure that we’re here for them,” said Toronto Police Service Supt. Andy Singh.

Area residents came to support but also speak out, saying these random acts of gun violence do not speak to the vibrancy of this community. They also called for more youth programs and increased police presence so that residents feel safe.

“We want our young people to go out and not worry about whether they’re coming home or not … police presence is important, but in a positive light,” said Juliet Opoku, vice president of the Ghanaian Canadian Association of Ontario.

As for the investigation, Toronto police conducted a search in Stoney Creek on Friday, but declined to exactly say what officers were hoping to find. A suspect vehicle, described as a stolen black Acura RDX was found in Hamilton. A suspect linked to the two shootings is still at large.

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