What happened to Tyrone Tomlinson on a night this month could have happened to anyone, his parents say, and that is the problem.
Tomlinson, who grew up on Scarborough’s Canlish Road, was 21 and father of a three-year-old boy.
On Feb. 5, someone shot him beside a house in North Riverdale. His parents are preparing to bury him, and so far, there have been no arrests.
“You can be in Rosedale, and this can happen,” says his father Keith Tomlinson. “You’re seeking anything, and as you arrive, you die without cause.”
His parents want to know who did this to their son, an upbeat young man, Keith said, “loved by all in this family, respected by all his brothers and sisters, and well-beloved in the community.”
They want the shooter to turn himself in, he added, “to make this all be a little better so we can sleep at night knowing what happened to our son in his final moments.”
Tomlinson’s absence leaves a void in a community where he was known for being friendly and talkative. He had plans, ideas, dreams, a future, “which were all snatched from him that night,” his father said.
Tomlinson, who had eight siblings, attended Ionview Public School in mid-Scarborough, and Winston Churchill Collegiate where he was outstanding in basketball, football, track and field and soccer.
He worked part-time through temp agencies, but had set his sights on being an elevator technician. “He said, ‘Dad, this is what I want to do.’”
Early on Feb. 5, Toronto Police found Tomlinson shot near Pape and Danforth avenues. They searched for a man who fled east, on foot. There’s been no public update on the case since.
Tomlinson was an “excellent dad", never hesitating to feed or change his baby boy, his mother, Princess Mcfarquhar recalled.
Family members delighted in seeing the toddler on weekends when Tomlinson took care of him. He was going to see his girlfriend at her Riverdale home, his parents say, the night he was shot.
“It was his weekend to have the baby,” said Mcfarquhar.
“He called me: ‘Mom, is the baby there?’ I said ‘No, why are you looking this time of night?’” she said, recalling it was 11:41 p.m. “He didn’t sound mad or nothing so I didn’t have any other concern.”
Police called her nine hours after, she said, to tell her Tomlinson was dead. She and Keith believe he simply drove to Riverdale to find his son.
“I can see me do the same thing, looking for one of my kids,” Mcfarquhar said.
Since the shooting, there have been calls from Florida, Bermuda, Jamaica, calls from people she doesn’t even know. People come to the door with envelopes, and donate online, because the family needs money to see their son properly laid to rest.
“We seek nothing extravagant, just befitting of a good lad,” said Keith, who is collecting donations at www.gofundme.com/lay-my-son-tyrone-tomlinson-to-rest
Tomlinson’s funeral service on Saturday, Feb. 25, will be in Scarborough, his burial in Pickering.