Toronto including the Caribbean Diaspora are praying for the survival of a baby boy taken at just 20 weeks by C-section as his mother lay dying of a gunshot would inflicted by a gunman branded by a Toronto Police superintendent as disgraceful and a coward.
The baby is in stable condition, hospital officials say, but may face challenges as it develops.
Candice Rochelle Bobb, 25, of Malton, who is Canadian-born of St. Vincent and the Grenadines heritage, was in a vehicle with three men Sunday night when a gun was fired into the car at the corner of John Garland Blvd. and Jamestown Cres. The vehicle was there to drop off one of the male occupants after the four had watched a men’s league basketball game.
Isaac Bobb said his family is “trying to stay strong” following the murder of his pregnant sister.
“Because at the end of the day, it’s already done, it’s already happened. There’s nothing we can really do but celebrate her life rather than just reflect on the loss,” Bobb said
“She is well known to our band members and myself as she grew up with us,” Wendy Jones, leader of Pan Fantasy Steel Band, told The Camera on Tuesday. Jones said she is praying for Bobb’s baby. Bobb’s eldest turns 16 this week and a second child is 12.
Police Supt. Ron Taverner of 23 Division broke the news on Monday of the shooting to the media and called the gunman who was hidden in a passing car “disgraceful” and a “coward”.
“I can’t tell you how appalled we are.” Police say Bobb was not the gunman’s intended target.
Zero Gun Violence movement’s Louis March said there is a story behind every gunshot fired: “Are we ready to listen to the full story? Because that is where you will find the solution to gun violence.
“We have to learn to trust each other. We must engage all stakeholders.” March said Toronto must find a way to provide resources.
Dewitt Lee, seeking the Liberal nomination for Scarborough-Rouge riding, said the murder touches everyone. “I know too many youths living without parents in our community. Time to do something. We are all targets.
“We have a ticking time bomb. It’s an absolute tragedy.”
On the heels of the shooting, Toronto Police Association (TPA) has taken out full page ads in several prominent newspapers calling on public support in the face of a “significant increase in violent crime.”
Titled “Shouldn’t Public Safety be a Public Matter,” TPA President Mike McCormack writes about a “growing disconnect between the police and the community” and an alarming spate of recent gun crimes.
“The safest city in North America has a gun violence problem,” the letter states. “Compared to a year ago, shootings have increased 61%. Shooting deaths have increased 217%. And typically gun violence only gets worse in the summer,” he warned.
Deputy Mayor Vincent Crisanti, city councilor for the Jamestown area of Etobicoke, expressing sympathy for the victim and the community, said a mother being shot and dying and not seeing her son or daughter come into the world is devastating.
Rev. Glentis Samuel who assists a shelter in the city including boxing up baby needs said good men and women should be brought together to assist in community building and identify where lives can be changed for the better.
Police are hoping that tips from the community will help detectives piece together what transpired.
“I know the neighbourhood; I’ve worked in this division before. There are good people that reside in this community. I am certain that someone will come forward,” Det.-Sgt. Mike Carbone said. He added none of the people in the vehicle were known to police.
Mayor John Tory said he’s “horrified” when such crimes happen in Toronto.
“We have to stop these things from happening. We have a baby that will grow up without a mother. This is absolutely unacceptable.”