Teacher de­cries gun vi­o­lence

Teen killed last week in Eto­bi­coke shoot­ing iden­ti­fied as young mu­si­cian Aseel Ye­hya

Toronto Star - - GREATER TORONTO - With files from Jack Hauen

In an in­ter­view with Global News last week, Saleh Ali, a man iden­ti­fy­ing him­self as Ye­hya’s fa­ther, said his son had gone out that night to give a friend a T-shirt, and was wait­ing for a bus when shots rang out.

“He’s a good boy. He’s a young boy. He’s a ed­u­cated boy. He’s a work­ing boy at the air­port. I was very shocked,” Ali told Global News.

“Never ever seen any­thing like this hap­pen in all my life. It’s not easy.”

Aheart­bro­ken Mur­ray took to Twit­ter on the week­end, post­ing sev­eral pho­tos of Ye­hya and call­ing for an end to gun vi­o­lence in Toronto.

Mur­ray said Ye­hya was the third stu­dent un­der the age of 18 he has known who lost their life to gun vi­o­lence in the last nine years.

“I just want peo­ple to know that he was a good kid,” said Mur­ray.

“A nice kid with a whole fu­ture ahead of him.”

Ross Mur­ray says he will re­mem­ber his for­mer stu­dent Aseel Ye­hya as a promis­ing, tal­ented mu­si­cian who was well­liked by his peers.

On Sun­day Ye­hya,18, was iden­ti­fied by Toronto po­lice as the city’s third homi­cide vic­tim of 2019.

Known by the nick­name “Twix,” Ye­hya was a “nice kid” who was de­vel­op­ing a rep­u­ta­tion as a gifted singer and writer of rap lyrics, Mur­ray said. “He def­i­nitely had po­ten­tial there.” Mur­ray, now a vice-prin­ci­pal at Lakeshore Col­le­giate In­sti­tute, said he met Ye­hya when the teen be­came one of his stu­dents in the TDSB School Within A Col­lege (SWAC) pro­gram at Hum­ber Col­lege last year.

The pro­gram pro­vides “dis­en­gaged and un­der­achiev­ing” stu­dents be­tween 17 and 20 the op­por­tu­nity to earn high school and col­lege cred­its on a col­lege cam­pus, ac­cord­ing to the TDSB web­site.

“Ev­ery­one loved him in the class,” said Mur­ray, who taught Ye­hya from Fe­bru­ary to June 2018 at Hum­ber Col­lege’s north cam­pus.

“He was al­ways laugh­ing, al­ways smil­ing. I mean, he could have been a lit­tle more fo­cused with his school work, but … he was al­ways so re­spect­ful, po­lite. He liked to have a good time, got along with ev­ery­one.”

Mur­ray said he was in “dis­be­lief and shock” when he learned of Ye­hya’s death from an­other stu­dent, Frida.

“I was won­der­ing, what hap­pened and why some­one would do this? Was it tar­geted?” Mur­ray said.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice, Ye­hya was walk­ing on Elmhurst Dr. near Red­wa­ter Dr. in Eto­bi­coke around 9:20 p.m. on Wed­nes­day when he was ap­proached by a dark-coloured ve­hi­cle. Gun­shots were heard. Ye­hya at­tempted to run away, but was shot. The ve­hi­cle drove off.

Po­lice said by­standers pro­vided med­i­cal as­sis­tance to the teen as he lay on the ground be­fore he was taken to hos­pi­tal suf­fer­ing from “se­vere trauma.” He died a short time later.

Aseel Ye­hya, 18, was fa­tally shot in the Red­wa­ter Dr. and Elmhurst Dr. area Wed­nes­day.

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