It was a sunny Saturday evening when 17-year-old Jonathan Davis decided to walk from a parkette to his nearby apartment and change his shoes.
It was warm, and a group of people were people lining up for an ice cream truck nearby.
Then the shooting began.
Selma Alincy, a family friend of Davis’s mother, said the bullets came so fast that “everyone who heard it thought it was fireworks.”
Peel Regional Police Chief Chris McCord described families running from a “hail of bullets,” with more than 100 shell casings recovered at the scene.
Police say they are looking for at least seven shooters, armed mostly with semi-automatic weapons.
Five others were injured, and Davis, who police say was an innocent bystander, was killed steps away from his home.
“He went inside to change his shoes, and he did not even make it back to his apartment,” Alincy said.
Police have so far not made any arrests or recovered any weapons. No suspect descriptions have been released.
‘She kept on saying his name’
Alincy spoke with CBC’s Metro Morning on Monday about what she saw and heard on Saturday evening, beginning with a panicked phone call from Davis’s mother.
“She was just hysterical on the phone,” said Alincy. “She kept on saying his name.”
Unsure what was happening, Alincy raced to the scene from her home a few minutes away, arriving to see police tape and officers.
“So I ran through the front toward the back of the building, and when I got there, I saw Jonathan laying on the ground… a few doors from where he lives,” she said.
Davis’s father, who is going blind, was there. He asked Alincy if his son was dead.
“I said. ‘No, he’s not, they’re working on him,”‘ she said. “When I saw them take the cloth and put it over his body, that’s when I knew that he had passed.”
Alincy was holding Davis’s father. When his mother arrived, she collapsed in her arms as well.
“She couldn’t speak to tell me what was wrong,” she said.
Grief and fear continue
Alincy described Davis as quiet and intelligent — an honour roll student who loved video games and helped his father navigate the world as he lost his vision.
“He was his father’s right hand,” she said.
McCord said Sunday that the intended targets of the shooting were preparing to film a rap video at the time of the shooting, but Alincy said Davis was not involved at all.
“He was not a part of a gang, he had nothing to do with the music video,” she said.
In the neighbourhood where Davis lived, grief over his death is coupled with fear of more violence.
“I have a young son, and I’m telling him, after school come straight home,” said Alincy. “I’m afraid.”
In the building’s lobby, a makeshift memorial has sprung up, with flowers, cards and food and water.
Marjorie Judham, an elderly woman who lives in the same complex, said Sunday that she didn’t feel up to going to church.
Students at the school Davis attended are being offered additional supports as they grapple with the death of one of their own.
Members of the Peel District School Board’s Critical Incident Response Team will be at Lincoln M. Alexander Secondary School today to support staff and students.
Pastor Delroy Sherman, a local community leader, told Metro Morning he hasn’t been sleeping since.
“Over the last number of years, I’ve been burying youths in this age bracket, and it’s very sad,” he told Metro Morning.
Politicans weigh in
“There are solutions to this gun violence… if the government would listen to us,” Sherman said, citing a summer basketball competition that was started in the community to keep young people busy.
It’s solutions that are now top of mind among politicians, both local and federal.
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said the incident was “a call for us to let us know that we can and should do more.”
Federal party leaders, on the campaign trail in Ontario over the weekend, all commented as well, each suggesting different root causes for what’s become an increasingly severe problem in the GTA.