Vaughan shooting victim Mila Barberi, 28, remembered as 'bright soul'

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Vaughan shooting victim Mila Barberi, 28, remembered as 'bright soul'

Just below the posts of shock and sadness on Mila Barberi's Facebook page Wednesday, is a post wishing the 28-year-old a happy birthday.

The message, dated March 6, was posted less than 10 days before Barberi died following a shooting in a Vaughan industrial complex. 

A 40-year-old man was also shot but suffered only minor injuries. It's believed he was the victim of a targeted hit, a police source tells CBC Toronto.

"Happy birthday to my other half, Mila Barberi," one post reads. "Everyone knows you are unforgettable. Your light, essence and energy (even when times are hard) are a blessing to those around you... Here's to more dance parties and seconds at Nonno's house."

Shooting was targeted, sources say

On Tuesday, York Regional Police officers found Barberi without vital signs on Caster Avenue in the Highway 407 and Weston Road area after shots rang out. She was rushed to hospital before being pronounced dead.

Police are not identifying the man who was shot. Police said the two victims were known to each other, but would not give information about their relationship.

Police are now searching for a suspect believed to be a man, about six feet, two inches tall and about 250 pounds. He was last seen fleeing the scene westbound on Caster Avenue. He is believed to have been wearing a dark jacket with his face covered, driving a dark-coloured Jeep Grand Cherokee.

A police source says based on how the shooter was completely covered up, he appears to have been executing a professional hit. 

"Investigators with the York Regional Police homicide unit are seeking suspects and appealing to any witnesses to come forward," said Const. Laura Nicolle in a recorded statement.

Nicolle said the shooting took place in a busy area in the middle of the afternoon, so it's likely people witnessed the attack. She appealed to anyone who might have seen the Jeep, as well as any businesses with video footage or drivers with dashboard cameras.

'A shining light'

On Wednesday, Barberi was being remembered as "a bright soul," and "a shining light in an unkind world." 

"Mila my love, I don't understand how this happened," wrote one woman, who said she spent two years working with Barberi. "I will always miss your smiling face."

"Mia, this world will not be the same without you," wrote another woman.

"My dear cousin, I have struggled to find some words, words to properly portray how I feel," wrote one man. "But I don't think there will ever be the right words."

Anyone with information is asked to contact the homicide unit at 1-866-876-5423 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.