The family of a young college student killed in a shooting last week is appealing for witnesses to step forward as they prepare for his funeral.
Jeremy Urbina, 22, was on his way to pick up food on a study break when he was shot last Wednesday at around 8 p.m. on a street close to his family’s North York home in the area of Leslie Street and Finch Avenue East.
“It’s a bit of a blur,” said his brother Jasper Urbina, adding it is his family’s understanding that the shooting was random. He was at work when his mother called saying his youngest brother, who was a student at the Ontario College of Art and Design University, hadn’t come home from what should have been a short walk and wasn’t picking up his phone.
“She was scared and paranoid,” Mr. Urbina said. Police showed up shortly after to tell her that her son was dead.
Toronto police spokesman Constable Victor Kwong said the homicide investigation remains open. Police have asked anyone who witnessed the encounter or was driving in the area with a dashboard camera at the time to contact them. Investigators believe there were two suspects, both wearing dark clothing, who fled the scene on foot.
Police officers told the family that Jeremy was shot multiple times. “They said they can’t disclose too much information because the case is still fresh,” Mr. Urbina said. “They’re still searching and canvassing the area.”
The older brother is appealing for help from the public as the family tries to understand what happened.
“At this point, we just want some answers,” he said. “I just want to know. … It just hurts the more you think about it."
Friends of the victim have been reaching out over the past week sharing memories about him and how he touched their lives, Mr. Urbina said.
In addition to his OCAD studies, Jeremy worked part-time at a Freshii restaurant downtown for nearly two years, co-owner Seema Bains said.
He was known for singing and dancing while working, and he started a ritual of making mac and cheese for his colleagues on Fridays, Ms. Bains said.
“He was that person who was always smiling and honestly and sincerely saw happiness and joy in everything he did. No matter how intense a situation got, he was calm, he was joyful,” she said.
Ms. Bains said he dreamed of becoming a director.
“His mom was his world and he was trying to do her good in terms of get through university and really become something,” she said.
He was caring about his brothers, too. “The moment he would see one of us cry, he would start crying," his older brother said. “He was the most loving of all of us.”
The funeral is scheduled for Wednesday. A GoFundMe page to help pay for the cost and support the family has raised nearly $24,000.
With a report from Jill Mahoney