Trudeau addresses Fredericton attack, Danforth shooting in Toronto
Graham Slaughter, CTVNews.ca
Published Friday, August 10, 2018 8:21AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, August 10, 2018 11:24PM EDT
Speaking in a Toronto neighbourhood still recovering from its own deadly attack, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked Canadians to send love and support to Fredericton after an early-morning shooting killed four people, including two police officers.
Thousands gathered in Toronto’s Greektown for the Taste of the Danforth Festival on Friday. The event comes less than three weeks after a 10-year-old girl and 18-year-old woman were fatally shot in the neighbourhood.
Trudeau, flanked by a team of Liberal MPs, addressed both violent attacks.
“As we remember the terrible tragedy that struck two weeks ago, the loss of life, the way the community came together, there is a great town a few hours east of here, our friends in Fredericton, who are going through a very, very difficult night,” Trudeau said.
“And if we could all send them our best love and our best support for our fallen officers who are there protecting us and the people who died in a terrible tragedy.”
The two police officers killed in Fredericton have been identified as Lawrence Robert Costello, 45, a father of four, and 43-year-old Sara Mae Helen Burns, a mother of three. Police have only identified the other two victims as an adult man and woman.
Trudeau also paid tribute to 18-year-old Reese Fallon and 10-year-old Julianna Kozis, who were both killed on July 22 when gunman Faisal Hussain fired a handgun along the popular strip.
“It was a terrible tragedy that affected us all deeply, we all hugged our loved ones a little closer that night and for the following days. But is also is a moment to celebrate them, to remember them, and to come out and continue to celebrate what makes the Danforth, what makes Toronto, what makes Canada one of the best and safest countries in the world, which is we pull together as a community,” Trudeau said.
Despite the recent tragedy, festival organizer Howard Lichtman said he still expects a big turnout. Regardless, the event will feature advanced security, he said.
“None of us can allow a singular act of violence to define a festival, to define a neighbourhood, to define a city or a country,” said Lichtman. “I think that’s what Canadians are all about.”
Visitors to the festival can still pay their respects at a memorial site at St. Barnabas on the Danforth Anglican Church near Chester Avenue. All other unofficial memorials on the street have been moved to accommodate crowds.
After the festival, the temporary memorial will be moved to a nearby parkette until a permanent memorial is created.
Some survivors of the shooting are expected to attend the festival, including Ali Demircan who told CTV Toronto that he has been paranoid ever since it happened.
“When I hear someone yelling, I feel scared,” said Demircan, who was grazed by a bullet during the shooting. But friends and family have encouraged him to “return to normal life.”
For many in Greektown, the “Taste of the Danforth” is part of that normalcy. At Legends Sports Lounge, owner Nick Papalambropoulos hosted a wrestling match Thursday, to raise money for families of the shooting victims.
“It’s good to have people coming out, showing support to the neighbourhood,” he said, “and showing that Toronto is a safe place, especially the Danforth.”
On Saturday, a “Toronto Together” benefit concert will be held, featuring Canadian bands Billy Talent, City and Colour, and Pup. Proceeds from the event will go to the #TorontoStrong Fund for victims of the shooting.
With a report from CTV Toronto’s Miranda Anthistle