Candlelight vigil held for victims of fatal Vaughan condo shooting

Dozens gathered in Vaughan on Wednesday night for a candlelight vigil to remember the victims of a mass shooting in a condo building earlier this week.

It was held at the courtyard outside Vaughan City Hall and attended by family, friends and community members.

A candlelight vigil is held at Vaughan City Hall for the victims of a mass shooting.

York Regional Police (YRP) said a 73-year-old man, who was in a lengthy dispute with his condo board, killed three board members and two of their partners in the highrise on Sunday night before he was shot dead by an officer.

During the vigil, the names of the five victims – Rita Camilleri, Vittorio Panza, Russell Manock, Helen “Lorraine” Manock, and Naveed Dada – were read aloud before a moment of silence was observed.

Vaughan city councillor Marilyn Iafrate was one of those who attended the memorial.

“Everyone is in shock. This is something you never think that will happen in your backyard. I think everybody’s still trying to digest what the heck happened and can’t believe it,” Iafrate said.

“This is our way – everybody’s way – of expressing our grief and also honouring these people.”

Iafrate knew Rita and Vittorio and described them as a wonderful and happy couple. She remembered Vittorio as a supportive husband, and Rita as a “feisty” and “intelligent” woman who went out of her way to help the condo community.

She said she hoped the vigil would give the families peace that their loved ones were well-loved and well-respected.

“We’re just here to help them – help support them in whatever way we can because this is a huge tragedy,” Iafrate said.

“You’re going to always have memories of your family members, but they’re going to have this added memory that the community came out and are with them.”

People attend a candlelight vigil in Vaughan for the victims of a mass shooting at a condo.

Lucy Derasmo was friends with Rita and Vittorio and said she was at the vigil to honour them. She described the couple as sincere and loving people who loved to dance and socialize.

“I just really can’t believe that this is really true,” she said, adding she had been crying since she learned about what happened to her friends.

Derasmo said she was touched to see how the community came together to pay tribute to her friends and the other victims.

“Whenever anything happens in a community, everybody feels the pain, whether you knew them or not. It really hits home for a lot of people because you can’t believe that this is actually happening where you live,” she said.

Donald Grant was a member of the condo board from 2011 to 2015, and worked with Russell and Naveed, who he described as dedicated and hard-working.

“They cared about the building. They were there all the time. They had a good heart and a good soul. And they were not people that were hard to deal with. They didn’t bully people,” Grant said.

He was angry about what happened, calling the incident unnecessary.

Grant’s wife, Sylvie, was also friends with some of the victims. She was shocked when she heard about the shooting.

“You know when you meet somebody – it could be six o’clock in the morning or six o’clock at night – and they’re happy to see you. That’s who they were. They were happy to see me and I was happy to see them. It was just a good feeling,” Sylvie said.

“I’m still looking for Naveed here, somewhere.”

Candles are placed on a bench outside Vaughan City Hall during a vigil for the victims of a mass shooting.

Several dignitaries were also at the vigil, including Vaughan Mayor Steven Del Duca, MP Francesco Sorbara, MPP Stephen Lecce and YRP Chief Jim MacSween.

In his remarks, Del Duca said the tragic incident had left families devastated and the community in a state of disbelief.

“There are simply no words that can adequately convey how collectively heartbroken we are. No words that will provide enough comfort for the victims’ families during their terrible time of suffering. No words that will make all of the anguish that we feel together at this moment simply disappear,” the mayor said.

“As a community here and in Vaughan, we know that we are strong and we are resilient. And I have no doubt that we will come together as a community that we will be there for one another and they are, in particular, for the family and friends of the victims over the coming days. And that together, we will find a way as a community to heal when the time is right. But this is not yet a time for healing. This is a time to grieve – grieve for the heartbreaking loss of loved ones gone well before their time. Grieve for what they, the innocent victims, were unfairly forced to confront in their final moments and grieve, in some respects, for our collective loss of innocence.”

Meanwhile, Chief MacSween said his force will be with the victims’ families at every step to help them. He said each family has an assigned member of the victim services to make sure they have everything they need.

“There [are] no words I or anyone else can say to make sense of what happened. But I can tell you what I can do, just like I would expect everyone to do collectively wrap our arms around the community, around the families and do what we can to help you make sense of what your lives will look like moving forward without your family members,” MacSween said.

“It’s going to be difficult. It will take days, months and probably years to figure it out. But make no mistake, we’ll be there to help you out.”

– with files from CP24’s Beatrice Vaisman The Canadian Press

View original article here Source