Five months and two days after losing her son to gun violence at the very same Jamestown townhouse complex where 15-year-old Jarvis Montaque was gunned down this weekend, Habiba Adan came forward Tuesday with a message to witnesses on behalf of Toronto’s latest grieving family: speak up.
“This grieving family deserves your honesty. It is the least you can do. Please find the courage to speak up,” Adan, whose 26-year-old son Warsame Ali was shot to death in Jamestown on Sept. 18, said at a press conference at north Etobicoke’s 23 Division Tuesday. “A cowardly silence that plagues our community is just as responsible for those killings as the people that pulled the trigger.”
In what police believe was a targeted shooting, Jarvis Montaque was shot down at close range on a paved walkway just outside his Jamestown home Sunday night at around 10:50 p.m. while standing with a group of friends. Only one shot was fired from the semi-automatic pistol that gunned down Jarvis before the suspect – described as a black male wearing dark clothing – fled the scene.
While the group of friends standing with Jarvis at the time of the shooting have all been interviewed by police and are said to be fully cooperating, police are still at a loss for a motive in the slaying of the “quiet, kind and loving” Father Henry Carr student, who moved to Toronto from Jamaica two years ago seeking a better life.
During Tuesday’s press conference Det. Joyce Shertzer of the Toronto police Homicide Squad read a statement from one of Jarvis’ 10 sisters, in which he was described as a quiet boy who attended church every Sunday and stuck close to home.
“Jarvis was taken from us for no reason at all. The community needs to know that he was never a bad person and the person that killed him, killed him because he could,” the statement read.
Described by 23 Division Supt. Ron Taverner as a “senseless and violent act,” Jarvis’ murder marked the third such fatal shooting of a Toronto teen in just one month. Tyson Bailey, 15, was shot multiple times in the stairwell of a Regent Park highrise on Jan. 18 and 15-year-old St. Aubyn Rodney was shot inside his Jane Street and Finch Avenue West apartment on Feb. 11.
“From all accounts that we have, (Jarvis) was a well-liked young man and a good student,” Taverner said, appealing to the public to come forward with information about Jarvis’ killer and any possible motive for this latest shooting of a Toronto teen. “He was not in anyway involved in anything in the community that he shouldn’t have.”
Det.-Sgt. Gary Giroux said the Homicide Squad has dedicated eight detectives to the investigation into Jarvis’ shooting, but that witnesses are paramount to breaking the case.
“Without the cooperation of the public and witness participation in a tangible way – where witnesses come forward, give statements under oath on videotape and tell the truth about what happened in this particular investigation – we will not be able to be successful and it will not move forward at all,” he said.
“I’m completely confident there are individuals within the community that know exactly what happened to this young man and the reason it happened...we encourage those members of the community to dig deep and get the courage to come forward and tell us exactly what happened.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-7400, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).