4 years on, the trauma of the deadly Danforth shooting lives on

·3 min read
People leave messages of condoloscence and grief at a memorial that formed in the aftermath of the Danforth shooting on July 22, 2018. A community event is set to honour the victims of the attack on Friday evening at 6 p.m. (Mark Blinch/Canadian Press - image credit)
People leave messages of condoloscence and grief at a memorial that formed in the aftermath of the Danforth shooting on July 22, 2018. A community event is set to honour the victims of the attack on Friday evening at 6 p.m. (Mark Blinch/Canadian Press - image credit)

Friday marks four years since a gunman opened fire on crowds gathered on Toronto's busy Danforth Avenue, killing two people and injuring 13 others before turning his weapon on himself.

The shooting on the balmy summer evening of July 22, 2018, stole the lives of 18-year-old Reese Fallon and 10-year-old Julianna Kozis, and left countless others either physically or mentally traumatized.

Among those injured was Samantha Price, who was out for ice cream with Fallon and other friends when one of the gunman's bullets struck her in the hip.

Samantha's father, Ken Price, spoke with CBC Radio's Metro Morning on Friday about how the experience affected his daughter, family and the wider community, and why it spurred him to advocate for gun law reform and better victims' services. You can listen to that interview in the player below:

"Samantha has moved ahead bravely. She's gone off to university. She's toward the end now of getting her degree. And she is functioning with friends," Price told host Ismaila Alfa.

She may have recovered from her physical wounds, Price said, but the shooting left her scarred in other ways.

"There is no question it has made a difference for her, in terms of her trust in things like being on the subway, which she doesn't do anymore. Or of being in certain parts of the city. And of being more suspicious in general, cautious is maybe a better word, in terms of her behaviour in public."

CBC
CBC

Price added that the fourth anniversary of the shooting will be a day of reflection for all those bound together by the events of that day.

"I think what we have learned from our experience and from talking with others is that it's something that never really goes away. It is something that you live with," he said.

"It is present in your life and you figure out a way to kind of move forward while this is part of who you are."

'We want to make sure we don't forget'

A memorial marking the anniversary was held at 6 p.m. Friday in the north end of Withrow Park. Mayor John Tory, federal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, and other politicians showed their support for the families of the survivors and relatives of Fallon and Kozis.

"It was an extraordinarily tragic incident," Tory said. "It's hard to believe what had happened on a street associated with celebrations, festivals, and people having a good time."

"We want to make sure we don't forget," the mayor added.

Danforth Families for Safe Communities, a group started by Ken Price, said in a statement it's committed to help survivors of gun violence.

"From the facts of our case, we advocate for actions that can be taken by all levels of government to reduce the risk of death caused with guns," the statement reads.

"For today, we focus on remembering, to honour Reese and Julianna and what they accomplished in their short lives."

Robert Krbavac/CBC
Robert Krbavac/CBC
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