Community is hoping someone comes forward to break the case
As she sits on the grass with tears in her eyes just metres from where her son, Caden Francis, 16, collapsed after being shot Saturday night, Ursular Francis remembers a quiet, good kid.
“I never had to tell him anything. He had his whole life ahead of him,” she says.
Francis was shot Saturday night on Antrim Cr., near Kennedy Rd. and Hwy. 401.
“I’m going out” were his last words to his mother, who thought he had a date because of all the cologne.
When she heard a commotion outside her Toronto Community Housing building, she rushed down to see what was happening.
“His best friend said ‘Auntie, it’s Caden’,” she recalls.
“And that’s when I lost it.”
Caden just turned 16 on May 10.
She says he liked to go to the mall, play video games, and hang out in his room.
“It’s a tragedy for us all,” says neighbor Natalie MacIntosh, who has organized nine nights of candlelight vigils. “I bought 70 candles, and we ran out of candles. His teachers came out. The principal came out.”
Francis attended Winston Churchill Collegiate Institute and was enrolled in the Africentric curriculum.
“The principal was saying that this is an ‘A’ student,” MacIntosh says.
“This kid was going to university. He wasn’t just going to college, he was going to university. It’s just so sad.”
Caden’s father, Courtney Hamblett, last saw his son sleeping Saturday morning before he left for work in Pickering.
“My son was the best,” remembers a father who is now worried about how his two other sons, Chris and Cameron, are coping with the loss.
On Monday, Roderick Brereton, the head of community engagement organization Urban Rez Solutions, visited to help the family by bringing food.
“Unfortunately, we’ve attended several crises in the community across Toronto,” he says while taking a break from consoling Caden’s distraught brother Chris, 29.
Some of Caden’s neighbours spent part of Monday in mourning close to where he fell. They’re determined to support his family.
“We have to show her that no matter what, we are her family. It’s not about bloodlines. We are her true family,” Macintosh says.
Police continue to investigate the murder and are appealing for even the smallest piece of information.
“We are just praying and hoping that people are not scared, and they come forward,” says MacIntosh.