Maryland man killed in Little Italy was loving fiancé, friend, role model
The unprovoked slaying in Toronto of an American man — remembered as a loving fiancé and church volunteer — has left a friend back home declaring that he’s “very hurt . . . very confused.”
“This is completely unexpected,” said Nick Thompson, who knew Julian Jones — who was to be married next spring — from their days on their high school football team.
Early Saturday, Jones, 26, was attacked and punched and kicked in the head on the sidewalk outside Blnd Tger on College St. west of Bathurst St. Jones, who lived in Baltimore, Md., died en route to the hospital. He was visiting Toronto for a bachelor party, whose members had just left the bar when the attack occurred.
“My understanding from speaking to his family is that he was a hardworking young man who came to this city to celebrate what was supposed to be a happy event,” said Det. Rob North of the Toronto Police Service on Sunday.
“Unfortunately, because of the actions of a few residents of this city, he doesn’t have that opportunity.”
Thompson took to Facebook on Sunday to say: “I was devastated, but that can never take away from the many adventures and memories we shared together. I love you buddy, and you will never be forgotten.”
Brian Wain grew up with Jones in Maryland and described him as a “very spiritual” person who did a lot of volunteer work at his church and was a role model for his younger brother, who is alone now after their mother died about two years ago.
“I think if you punch somebody in the face, and they fall back and hit their head and then you stomp on their head, there would be no way you would not know the damage you caused.” DET. ROB NORTH TORONTO POLICE
Wain told the Star he doesn’t think Jones would ever pick a fight with anyone at a bar.
“It’s very hard for us down here, the people that know him personally, to accept the fact that he’s gone,” Wain said.
Jones got engaged in April, but according to North, he was in town for a friend’s bachelor party, not his own. His fiancée, Shenel Darden, is taking his death very hard, Thompson said.
Jones met her about a year ago. A Facebook post from Sept. 3 this year said: “This day a year ago I met the love of my life Shenel Darden at a Labor Day weekend party. She gave me purpose and blessed my life beyond my wildest imagination. I love you and I look forward to this journey with you and only you.”
Jones studied law at the University of Baltimore and started working for Amazon this year as an affiliate, according to his Facebook account. A picture of him gathered from his posts, and those of mourning friends, shows a man who was concerned about climate change and genetically modified food, a Washington Redskins fan who liked to travel.
After a trip to Belize this year, Jones blogged that the exposure to a foreign culture had been “a beam of light from the sky on a cloudy day. Refreshing, and overpowering.”
He went on to recall “peaceful nights, full of chatter from the jungle nights or the peaceful view from up on top a mountain looking down at the packed, booming downtown area. I (don’t) take those moments for granted . . . (I) used to hear about this kind of stuff. A place, that will change your life, help your mind to find peace, (release) your soul, what ever.”
About 2:20 a.m. Saturday, as Jones’s group left Blnd Tger, North said, the man got separated from his friends because of an altercation already in progress outside the bar. Then, a group of seven to nine men went after him in what North called a “random attack.”
“The attack on Mr. Jones was and still is unprovoked,” North said. “Based on the witnesses we spoke to, Mr. Jones did absolutely nothing wrong.”
North said the two men who attacked Jones had to have been aware of how serious his injuries were.
“I think if you punch somebody in the face and they fall back and hit their head and then you stomp on their head, there would be no way you would not know the damage you caused.”
Descriptions of two suspects have been released and North said surveillance video of the parties involved will be released soon. He urged those responsible to contact lawyers and to surrender to police.
“Have some conscience,” North said Sunday. “Your identity will become known and we will be knocking on your door.”
One suspect is described as a white male, 26 to 27 years old with a slim build, in a black shirt and black pants. The second is described as a black male, 26 to 27 years old, with a full beard, large, “built like a football player,” also in a black shirt and black pants.
North also urged everyone in the group that included the alleged assailants — including those who did not participate in the attack — to tell police what they know.
Thompson said he is hopeful that those involved will be brought to justice.
Meanwhile, North said Jones’s friends have left Toronto.
“They’ve had to make the long, sombre trip to Maryland, minus one friend.” With files from Alex Ballingall
Julian Jones, 26, with his fiancée, Shenel Darden.
Julian Jones, 26, was killed outside a bar in Little Italy after police say he got separated from his friends at a bachelor party.