More than 200 attend vigil on basketball court for boy, 15, who died after weekend shooting

·3 min read
Shalldon Samuda, of Toronto, died in hospital after he was shot early Saturday. (GoFundMe - image credit)
Shalldon Samuda, of Toronto, died in hospital after he was shot early Saturday. (GoFundMe - image credit)

More than 200 people gathered on a Toronto basketball court on Wednesday evening to celebrate the life of a 15-year-old boy, described as "happy go lucky," who was fatally shot on the weekend.

The candlelight vigil was held in North York for Shalldon Samuda, of Toronto. People sang songs, said prayers, held up signs saying "Long Live Shalldon," and brought red and white balloons in remembrance of him. After the sun set, they held candles in the dark to honour him.

The site of the vigil was fitting given Shalldon's love of basketball. Family and friends shared memories of him and those who spoke said he was a helper, a joker and a "beautiful soul."

"I know my son was loved. I know I lot of people loved Shalldon because he's a loving person. He was always there to help,"  Ruthlyne Hoyte, his mother, told CBC Toronto.

"His memory will be with us. We'll always remember him. He'll always be my baby Shalldon."

Born on May 21, 2007, Shalldon died in hospital on Saturday after he was shot earlier that day in the area of Keele Street and Sheppard Avenue West. He is survived by his parents, four brothers and three sisters, according to an obituary published by the DeMarco Funeral Home.

Talia Ricci/CBC
Talia Ricci/CBC

Carletta Samuda, one of his sisters, said Shalldon had a good sense of humour, knew what he wanted, and always had a goal. He was independent, serious and quiet. She said he was always thinking of having a better future for himself.

She said it was wonderful to see the outpouring of support for his family at the vigil.

"This is actually amazing to see all the love of the community, his friends, teachers here. It means a lot to us and it means a lot to him," she said.

Carletta said she will miss hearing his voice on the phone and the one conversation they would have frequently.

She said he would say: "'Sis, are you working today? Can you come and pick me up after work?' That's the routine we have. That's our sister and brother time together."

Talia Ricci/CBC
Talia Ricci/CBC

Markeesha Clarke, his second cousin, said Shalldon used to come over to her house. She said he would light up a room.

"I'm very disturbed and heartbroken about what happened to him," she said.

"We're all here today to remember him and cherish the memories that we did have with him. And justice will be served."

She added that he was a "beautiful soul" who will be missed terribly.

People attending the vigil walked from Keele Street and Sheppard Avenue West to the basketball court at Brookwell Park, where the vigil was held.

CBC
CBC

Earlier this week, a gofundme page was set up to raise money for his family to help to cover funeral costs. The page says his life was "senselessly taken" and he leaves behind family, friends and a community that loved him very much.

"Shalldon was a happy-go-lucky kid, who had such an amazing sense of humour," reads the page.

According to Toronto police, officers were called at 12:42 a.m. and found Samuda suffering from a gunshot wound.

Toronto paramedics rushed him to hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Samuda is the city's 46th homicide victim of the year.

An 18-year-old man has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder. He was scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.