Joshua Yasay, 23, was one of two young people killed last Monday night while attending a barbecue on Danzig St.
Credits: Supplied photo
And as our municipal and provincial politicians prepare for yet another confab on how to solve gun violence, the families of 14-year-old Shyanne Charles and 23-year-old Joshua Yasay prepare to bury their children.
"Innocents" as Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair aptly described them.
Thanks to social media, we very quickly learned a lot about these two young people through their Twitter accounts.
Joshua had dreams of a career in law enforcement. As the Sun's Alex Consiglio reported last week, he graduated with a BA in criminology and had taken a job as a security guard.
Joshua had an entrepreneurial spirit. He recently ventured into the competitive world of hair salons, opening Goodfellas Barber Lounge with some friends in Ajax.
He had a bright future ahead of him and helped others to pursue theirs. An avid basketball fan, Joshua volunteered in an after-school basketball program for at-risk youth.
All of it was snatched away in a few short minutes when he was in the "wrong place at the wrong time" as his sister, Jennilyn, said of her brother's attendance at the Danzig Street party. She spoke about Joshua's motto, "justice needs to be served," amid pleas for witnesses to the shooting, which also wounded 23 people, to come forward.
Joshua's last few tweets before his untimely death depict a young man who could be jokingly profane with his friends, but respectful of his upbringing: "@theejoshuayasay - Sundays are meant for church and relaxing ... this working stuff needs to stop!" And in what can only be described as eerie, his last tweet was to Landry Fields, who recently signed with the Toronto Raptors: "@landryfields welcome to Toronto! City like no other!"
Fourteen-year-old Shyanne lived her tragically short life with music in her heart.
Remembered by her friends for having an "amazing voice," she was never shy about helping others.
She liked to teach people how to dance, played basketball and encouraged others to play sports.
Her coach described her as "a good young lady."
Pictures from her Twitter account reveal a popular girl who was far from timid.
It's obvious she had a deep affection for her family and friends.
There are also glimpses of the young woman she would have been in 10 years, living the life she should have enjoyed.
One of her last tweets showed a level of maturity not often found in 14-year-old girls: "@_HitThatFollow - "Reaching for the stars while my feet are still grounded."
She was supposed to start grade 10 in the fall.
Shyanne was at the community party with her mom, who had to watch as her baby girl lay dying on the road after someone opened fire on the crowd.
When such tragedies occur, those of us who are parents ask ourselves - what if that was my child?
What if I had taken the subway to the Eaton Centre to go shopping that fateful Saturday afternoon?
What if I happened to be out for a walk when bullets started flying on Danzig Street?
Fortunately, most of us still have the luxury to ask those questions.
Shyanne's and Joshua's parents do not.
Whether we declare a war on gangs or a war on guns, one thing we can all agree on is our kids should be able to grow up safely.
Today is my son, Aidan's, third birthday and when I look into his big brown eyes, my heart aches for Shyanne's and Joshua's parents, because they will never be able to look into their children's eyes again.