Mary­land man killed in Lit­tle Italy was lov­ing fi­ancé, friend, role model

Toronto Star - - FRONT PAGE - HINA ALAM AND EMMA MCIN­TOSH STAFF RE­PORTERS

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.

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Ju­lian Jones, 26, was killed out­side a bar in Lit­tle Italy after po­lice say he got sep­a­rated from his friends at a bach­e­lor party.

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