A young man shot and killed in Toronto this week was a former high-school football player coached by Rob Ford, the mayor says.
Kwado (Kojo) Mensah, a former player for the Don Bosco Eagles, was shot around 8:30 p.m. Thursday night at the Grace Hartman Housing Co-op in Scarborough’s Malvern neighbourhood near Old Finch and Morningside avenues.
Mr. Ford told The Toronto Sun that Mr. Mensah, 20, was “one heck of a football player.”
“The kid was truly phenomenal,” he said. “He had speed upon speed.”
Mr. Mensah’s mother lives in north Etobicoke, according to the person who answered the telephone at the home. It’s a small, tidy townhouse on a street teeming with children on a sunny Sunday afternoon. No one came to answer a knock at the door, and neighbours didn’t know about who lived there when asked.
Mr. Ford said it was impossible not to like Mr. Mensah, who was quiet and gentle off the field, but had “NCAA scholarship kind of speed,” on the field.
“He was a happy-go-lucky kid and very well-behaved and disciplined on and off the field,” he told The Sun.
“It just rips me apart and it’s going to rip me apart to see him in the casket.”
Mr. Ford began his CFRB radio show on Sunday by speaking about Mr. Mensah, saying he was a “nice, polite young man.”
“He never gave us any problems and he was a phenomenal football player,” he said on-air.
“It tears me apart when things like that happen so close to home,” he said. “I wish I could find a solution for this.”
Mr. Ford said that Mr. Mensah will be missed.
“I love you kiddo,” he said.
Police said Mr. Mensah’s death was connected to a shooting the same night that sent a 32-year-old man to hospital with a gunshot wound to his lower body.
Mr. Ford drew criticism earlier this year when he said that many players on the team would be dead or in jail he not for his football team. “I truly believe that,” Mr. Ford told Sun News network host David Menzies in March. “A lot of kids have said that to me. A lot of parents have said that to me.”
He said many players “come from gangs” and “broken homes” He called Don Bosco a “tough school” in a “tough area” and said he’d bailed players out of jail.
In 2008, he said that former Don Bosco player Jerome Miller, who was awarded a university football scholarship, would have ended up “dead or in jail” if it wasn’t for football.