At­tack on UB stu­dent in Toronto un­pro­voked

Po­lice seek group who fa­tally beat 26-year-old

Baltimore Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By Kevin Rec­tor

Fam­ily and friends of a Univer­sity of Bal­ti­more stu­dent who was en­gaged to be mar­ried next year were in shock Mon­day as they planned in­stead for his fu­neral.

Ju­lian Jones was killed in an at­tack early Satur­day out­side a night­club in Toronto. He was 26. “There are a cou­ple things I had hoped I would never have to tol­er­ate, and one was the death of one of my chil­dren,” said To­bias Jones, the vic­tim’s fa­ther. “This is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult.”

Po­lice in Canada’s largest city said they, too, are try­ing to make sense of the killing, which they de­scribed as com­pletely un­pro­voked. “Mr. Jones and his group were mind­ing their own busi­ness,” Toronto po­lice De­tec­tive Robert North said. “In fact, they overtly said that they did not want to be in­volved in an al­ter­ca­tion. And they were es­sen­tially as­saulted by th­ese thugs.”

Jones was in Toronto for a bach­e­lor party to cel­e­brate the com­ing wed­ding of a friend, his fa­ther said. Po­lice said Jones was Ju­lian Jones

punched and kicked in the head about 2:30 a.m. Satur­day. He was taken to a hospi­tal, where he was pro­nounced dead.

North said in­ves­ti­ga­tors were still gath­er­ing video and foren­sic ev­i­dence from the neigh­bor­hood where the at­tack oc­curred to iden­tify Jones’ at­tack­ers. North said he talked to the other mem­bers of Jones’ group — about 10 in all — be­fore they left Toronto to re­turn to the United States.

Jones and sev­eral other mem­bers of his group had just come out of the Blnd Tger, a club in a “trendy and up-and-com­ing area” of bars, clubs and busi­nesses, “merely to get some food,” North said.

Other mem­bers of their group had taken a taxi back to their lodg­ings, North said.

Po­lice be­lieve that Jones’ at­tack­ers had been in an al­ter­ca­tion with a dif­fer­ent group out­side the club, and that Jones’ group was “es­sen­tially set upon” for no rea­son amid the com­mo­tion.

North said Jones and his friends did ab­so­lutely noth­ing wrong.

Jones was to be mar­ried to Shenel Dar­den in Ni­a­gara Falls, N.Y., on April 30, 2017, a year to the day af­ter their en­gage­ment, his fa­ther said.

The Arun­del High School grad­u­ate was study­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity and hu­man ecol­ogy at the Univer­sity of Bal­ti­more down­town, but would visit his fa­ther in Glen Burnie on Wed­nes­days and Sun­days.

They would watch foot­ball, eat din­ner and in­evitably fall asleep next to each other on a pair of couches, his fa­ther said. Jones would wake up and head back to Bal­ti­more and his stud­ies.

“He’s just a straight-path, reg­u­lar, good guy,” his fa­ther said. “He was kind, car­ing, con­sid­er­ate, and he had faith in mankind. He had this thing where he thought things would get bet­ter.”

Grow­ing up be­tween Glen Burnie, Sev­ern and Oden­ton, Jones was al­ways a “peace­maker” who could “get peo­ple to set­tle down” if they were in an ar­gu­ment, his fa­ther said.

That he would be caught up in a deadly fight doesn’t make sense, he said.

Jones’ mother, So­nia, died a few years ago in a mo­tor­cy­cle ac­ci­dent, a dev­as­tat­ing Toronto po­lice take as ev­i­dence a hard drive con­tain­ing sur­veil­lance video of the area in which Ju­lian Jones was fa­tally beaten Satur­day. Flow­ers and can­dles lay at the site where Jones was at­tacked. Jones and his fi­ancee were to be mar­ried in April next year. loss for the fam­ily, in­clud­ing Jones’ 18-yearold sis­ter Kayla and 23-year-old brother Justin, his fa­ther said.

“I had fi­nally got­ten bet­ter at deal­ing with the death of his mother,” he said be­fore trail­ing off.

To­bias Jones said his sis­ter called Satur­day morn­ing to tell him that some­thing had hap­pened to his son in Canada.

Then Dar­den called, dis­traught, and said she was out­side his apart­ment with a cou­ple of her fam­ily mem­bers and that they had to talk, he said.

He said he knew in­stantly what that meant. “My God, I fell to my knees.” Jones’ fa­ther said some of Jones’ friends who were on the Toronto trip were back in Mary­land on Sun­day and vis­ited him as well.

“They were still all in shock,” he said. “They were stunned. They were dazed, as well as me. But they were on the front line.”

Jones’ body re­mained in Toronto on Mon­day. His fa­ther said he was try­ing to fig­ure out the lo­gis­tics of bring­ing his son’s body home across an in­ter­na­tional bor­der.

“I have no idea, be­cause it’s Canada,” he said.

Chris Hart, a spokesman for the Univer­sity of Bal­ti­more, said Jones trans­ferred to the univer­sity from Anne Arun­del Com­mu­nity Col­lege in the fall of 2014, and was on track to grad­u­ate this spring.

“We pro­foundly re­gret his loss. It’s a loss for our cam­pus com­mu­nity,” Hart said. “His friends and fam­ily are in our prayers.”

The Blnd Tger also ex­pressed con­do­lences. Club man­agers said in a state­ment that they are “com­mit­ted to as­sist­ing the po­lice in any way that we can,” and had pro­vided video sur­veil­lance footage from out­side their es­tab­lish­ment to in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

North said the in­ci­dent was un­usual for Toronto.

“We are a safe city, and we pride our­selves on be­ing a safe city,” he said. “Un­for­tu­nately, this has sort of put a black mark on us.”

Toronto — with nearly 3 mil­lion res­i­dents the fourth-largest city in North Amer­ica — had 56 homi­cides last year, North said.

Bal­ti­more, a city of about 620,000, had 344

North said Jones’ at­tack­ers should turn them­selves in while they have the chance. “If they don’t, we will find them,” he said. Po­lice have de­scribed only two sus­pects in their 20s — one slim, the other large, both wear­ing black — but said there were oth­ers in the same group who are also be­ing sought for ques­tion­ing.

Jones’ fa­ther begged any­one with in­for­ma­tion to come for­ward, so that those who at­tacked his son can’t at­tack any­one else.

“He be­lieved in try­ing to help peo­ple,” he said of his son. “He was a great son, a great brother, and he was go­ing to be a great hus­band.”

ED­UARDO LIMA/TORONTO STAR PHO­TOS

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