Dozens of people gathered in Vaughan for a candlelight memorial to remember the victims of a recent condo building shooting on Wednesday night.
Family, friends, and members of the community attended the event, which was held in the courtyard outside of the Vaughan City Hall.
According to York Regional Police (YRP), a 73-year-old man killed three board members and two of their spouses in the highrise on Sunday night before being fatally shot by an officer. The man had been engaged in a protracted argument with his condo board.
Rita Camilleri, Vittorio Panza, Russell Manock, Helen “Lorraine” Manock, and Naveed Dada were the five victims who had their names read aloud at the vigil before there was a moment of quiet.
Vaughan city councillor Marilyn Iafrate was one of those who attended the memorial.
“Everyone is in shock. This is something you never think that will happen in your backyard. I think everybody’s still trying to digest what the heck happened and can’t believe it,” Iafrate said.
“This is our way – everybody’s way – of expressing our grief and also honouring these people.”
Iafrate knew Rita and Vittorio and described them as a wonderful and happy couple. She remembered Vittorio as a supportive husband, and Rita as a “feisty” and “intelligent” woman who went out of her way to help the condo community.
She said she hoped the vigil would give the families peace that their loved ones were well-loved and well-respected.
“We’re just here to help them – help support them in whatever way we can because this is a huge tragedy,” Iafrate said.
“You’re going to always have memories of your family members, but they’re going to have this added memory that the community came out and are with them.”
Lucy Derasmo was friends with Rita and Vittorio and said she was at the vigil to honour them. She described the couple as sincere and loving people who loved to dance and socialize.
“I just really can’t believe that this is really true,” she said, adding she had been crying since she learned about what happened to her friends.
Derasmo said she was touched to see how the community came together to pay tribute to her friends and the other victims.
“Whenever anything happens in a community, everybody feels the pain, whether you knew them or not. It really hits home for a lot of people because you can’t believe that this is actually happening where you live,” she said.