Family mourns death of Regent Park shooting victims in community vigil

A candlelight vigil was held in Regent Park Saturday afternoon to remember the father and son killed in a shooting earlier this week.

Toronto police have not identified the victims, but the family of John and Denzel Kongolo say the pair died as a result of a daytime shooting last Tuesday near Dundas Street E. and Parliament Street.

Speaking to reporters at a vigil Saturday, Donovan Kongolo remembered his father John as a “strong” man with the “biggest heart” who was a fixture in the local community.

“He was really the life of the party, very bubbly guy, always knew how to make everyone laugh and just always knew how to be there for everyone,” he said.

“I know that the situation is very unfortunate, but through it all, I know that my dad still has a big heart for all of his kids.”

Benedict Johnson Kongolo, 23, who the family say is John’s son and Denzel’s brother, was charged Wednesday with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with their deaths. He is alleged to also have shot and injured a woman, who the family confirmed is his mother.

A memorial was erected by community members who attended the Saturday vigil in honour of John and Denzel Kongolo. (Grégory Wilson/Radio-Canada)

The Congolese Community of Greater Toronto organized the candlelight vigil near Dundas Street East and Arnold Avenue in honour of their deaths. Speaking at the gathering, another family member Alain Kongolo said Denzel had business projects in the works — some of which they were scheduled to travel to next week.

“He had so much plans. They were about to happen,” he said, adding he’ll continue pursuing them for the both of them.

“He was very ambitious, [he had the] greatest heart. He would never owe you anything.”

Alain said there’s “more to the story that we will not share” and asked for privacy as his family processes what happened.

“All these videos that are circulating, all these words that are being said. You were not there,” he said.

He said his mother, who survived the shooting and was sent to hospital with injuries, is especially hurt by the rumours and speculation circulating online. Her sobs could be heard sporadically during the vigil.

“This is her child … that’s her husband,” he said.

“You wouldn’t like it if you were in this situation, so please, we ask for the stories to end here today.”

Community members attended a vigil in honour of John and Denzel Kongolo on Saturday. (Grégory Wilson/Radio-Canada)

Walied Khogali of the Regent Park Neighbourhood Association asked community members to keep their memories alive.

“In our mourning, let us carry forward the legacy of love, compassion, and unity,” he said.

“Let their memory inspire us to live with kindness, to cherish our loved ones and to make a positive difference in the world, just as they did.”


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