'Somebody knows who shot him': Toronto mother speaks out after bullets left her son paralyzed

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'Somebody knows who shot him': Toronto mother speaks out after bullets left her son paralyzed

On the third Sunday of 2017, just after church, Devante Taylor walked out of the door of his mother's home to drop his nephew home.

He's been paralyzed from the neck down in hospital ever since.

On Jan. 15, emergency units were called to a crash scene in Rexdale, where a car had smashed into a hydro pole. When they arrived, officers found Taylor suffering a serious gunshot wound to the left side of the neck and rushed him to a trauma centre.

His three-year-old nephew was found, thankfully unharmed, in a car seat by a passerby. Another passerby took the time to turn off the engine, police said at the time.

But despite the efforts of a tactical team that swept through the area that night and of investigators since, no suspects have yet been found.

'Son, be careful'

Now, Taylor's mother, Venetia Tulloch, is speaking out about the night that changed not only her son's life but her also family's — possibly forever.

On a typical Sunday night, Taylor and his family would attend church, where the now 24-year-old has long been an usher.

Taylor was talking excitedly about plans to visit Cuba for his birthday, Mar. 3rd. No one at the time knew he would spend that day in hospital, unable to walk.

Tulloch was going to drive her grandson, Taylor's nephew, home.

"Mom I know you're tired, I'll do it," Tulloch said Taylor told her, before feeding their dog and setting out.

"He said 'bye' to me and I said, 'Son, be careful.'"

"O.K., Mom," Taylor replied.

Twenty minutes later, Tulloch received an anonymous phone call. She didn't reply. Then came a second. She answered.

It was police asking if Taylor had a son. She was puzzled.

'I saw it on the news'

In fact, she realized, it was her grandson they were asking about. The voice on the other end told her someone would call back.

Meanwhile, Tulloch's 18-year-old son turned on the nightly news and starting screaming.

"That's where we saw it, on TV. Police didn't tell me my son was shot or crashed. I saw it on the news."

Toronto police Det. Sgt. Dan Kooy told CBC News police wouldn't have disclosed that information to Tulloch for privacy reasons.

Taylor, Kooy explained, is an adult, whereas his nephew was underage.

From what Tulloch knows, Taylor was shot at near a bridge on Kipling Avenue between West Humber and John Garland boulevards, before his vehicle smashed into the pole a short distance away.

The ever-busy Taylor, who Tulloch says was completing a co-op program at Sheridan College and working two jobs, was paralyzed.

"He was always busy, going to the gym, walking his dog, going to work, you know, always busy. And now he's just lying in a bed" Tulloch said. "He won't be able to do anything for himself anymore."

Doctors won't say if Taylor will ever be able to walk again.

"They're just saying we'll take it as the days go by."

Meanwhile, Tulloch says she is still without answers.  She says Mt. Olive is a difficult neighbourhood, but that Taylor was never in any kind of trouble.

"We're just living, this is home, you know?" adding that she's not oblivious to violence in the area, but never expected to be caught up in it.

A praying mother

"I never know it would knock at my door, trust me. Because I'm a praying mother, I pray for just about all the youths in my area."

Police say their investigation remains open and that they are looking to lay charges of attempted murder. They could not confirm if Taylor was the victim of a targeted attack. 

"Somebody knows who shot him, somebody had to see," Tulloch maintains.

For now, she says she avoids driving on Kipling to keep from reminding her grandson about that night.

"He knows," Tulloch said. "He says, 'Grandma, that's where it happened.'"

Meanwhile she says she gets her strength from her son, whose recovery she prays for everyday.

"Honestly, he's really the one that's keeping me right now. Like I am torn apart, I'm broken, but he's the one encouraging me" she said through tears.

Taylor, she says, has a stronger spirit.

"Leave everything to time, because time is the master. That's what he says."