The sister of a 20-year-old Toronto man killed in a drive-by shooting in east-end Toronto over the weekend said her brother’s death is “beyond heartbreaking.”
“Abdullah was a huge basketball fan, a proud momma’s boy and he never left the house without giving one of us a hug,” said Ifrah Farah during a press conference at Toronto police headquarters Thursday morning.
“He had goals and aspirations in life that were cut short all too soon.”
Police say Abdullah Farah was fatally wounded in front of the Cloud Nine cafe on Danforth Avenue in the early morning hours of Sunday, April 17 after he was denied entry.
Investigators say surveillance video released from the scene indicates he was with two other men when shots rang out from a four-door sedan.
“He turned to walk away, a suspect vehicle traveling eastbound approached. Multiple shots were fired from the vehicle,” said Det. Leslie Dunkley. “This vehicle fled the scene in a high rate of speed going north on Coxwell.”
READ MORE: Toronto cafe where man killed in weekend drive-by shooting to become a daycare
Police say officers responded to the scene and located Farah without vital signs and was taken to hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.
Dunkley said the suspect vehicle passed the area in front of the cafe three times prior to the shooting.
“There were multiple shots fire, stray bullets that struck other vehicles,” he said. “Bullets penetrated into the car and into the trunk of the car. We’re very lucky nobody else was hurt.”
VIDEO: Police seek witnesses in fatal drive-by shooting at Cloud 9 café
Police say Farah, who had no criminal record or known gang affiliation, was the intended target.
“We also have to keep in mind he was with the company of two other individuals, who may have also been targeted that were not struck,” Dunkley explained.
“Without the benefit of those other individuals coming forward, that’s what it appears to us right now.”
Police say they are looking to identify the suspect vehicle and are asking anyone with dashcam video to come forward.
Farah’s sister maintains his brother was a good man who cared deeply about his family.
“Our brother was not involved in any gang activity. He was not known to the police. And he did not deserve to have his life taken so abruptly,” she said.
“Our brother was killed by a bullet and we don’t want his character assassinated as well.”
READ MORE: Calls for east-end Toronto cafe’s closure after man killed in drive-by shooting
The cafe, which has been the scene of three homicides in recent years, was shut down this week as a new daycare was approved to take its place.
The owner of the cafe, Hussein Souddo, said his establishment was unfairly criticized by local councillors.
He claims he did what he could to keep the shooting victim and his friends from entering the cafe.
“They tried to come in, we didn’t allow them,” he says. “They came on Saturday again, we didn’t allow them again, so they were just loitering outside in front of Gerrard Pizza.”
On May 19, 2015, 21-year-old Abdiweli Mohamed Yusuf was fatally shot there. At the time, Cloud Nine was called Rotana Cafe.
An off-duty Markham firefighter was also fatally stabbed inside Rotana in an unprovoked attack two years earlier.
-With a file from Caryn Liberman and Kevin Nielsen