Arrests in Shane Stanford homicide don't ease the pain of his death, friends and family say

·2 min read

Two people were charged Thursday in connection with the death of Shane Stanford that took place earlier this month — but the arrests haven't healed the emotional wounds of the victim's friends and family.

"I guess it's supposed to feel good, like justice is being served and things like that," said Dejazmatch James, a close friend of Stanford's.

"But at the end of the day, there's still a brother that we have to put to rest."

Stanford, a beloved instructor at a Toronto YMCA, was killed in an apparent drive-by shooting on Oct. 7. Police said they found the 33-year-old behind the wheel of an Acura sedan that had crashed into the side of a home, police said. The vehicle's back window appeared to be shot out as well.

"It has been devastating to all of us. He had a beautiful soul," Mehdi Zobeiry, general manager of the YMCA, told CBC Toronto at a candlelight vigil held in the days following Stanford's death. "He became very quickly one of our best instructors."

Chris Langenzarde/CBC
Chris Langenzarde/CBC

James echoed a similar sentiment about his long-time friend, who he himself looked up to when he was younger.

"He never wanted to harm anyone, he always wanted to see everyone be at their best."

Police charge man, teenager

On Thursday, Toronto Police arrested two people in connection with the killing of Stanford. One man, 27, was arrested in the Jane Street and Wilson area and charged with first-degree murder. A 17-year-old girl was also arrested and charged with accessory after the fact to murder. Both appeared virtually in court on Thursday.

Jeremy Cohn/CBC
Jeremy Cohn/CBC

Police are continuing to investigate, but the motive remains unclear.

"There's no indication that Shane Stanford was directly targeted. However, having said that, we're not at the conclusion of the investigation," said Det. Michael McGinn.

But James believes Stanford was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"I'm starting to feel it's just like a turf war or something. You know, someone just coming into Lawrence Heights and hunting whichever black person they see; that's how I feel at this point."

Police say they haven't ruled out the possibility there may be more people involved in Stanford's killing. They're urging anyone with information to come forward or contact Crime Stoppers to remain anonymous.