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‘We lost a brother. We lost a father’: Regent Park shooting victims remembered at vigil

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

The family of the victims and members of the Congolese community gathered at Dundas Street East and Arnold Avenue and lit candles and placed flowers for John Ngoyi Kongolo and Denzel Didier Kongolo.

Regent Park vigil

“Right now, all we need is love and compassion for our family,” the eldest of the siblings said at the vigil.

“We lost a brother. We lost a father. We’re at a loss. We’re mourning right now.”

The eldest brother remembered Denzel as an ambitious man with a great heart who had plans to travel the world.

“I will continue for him,” he said. “Me and my brother, we were tight. All of my brothers, we are tight. All of us. We have a special bond, special relationships.”

Meanwhile, Donovan Kongolo said his father, John, was always there for anyone who needed help and was loved by the community.

“He had the biggest heart,” Donovan said.

“He loved his kids with all his heart and would give anything for them. I know that this situation is very unfortunate, but through it all, I know that my dad has a big heart for all of his kids, even the one who unfortunately caused this situation.”

Regent Park vigil

Donovan also described his dad as someone who brightened everyone’s spirits and a bubbly guy who was the life of the party.

“He always knew how to make everyone laugh. And (he) just always knew how to be there for everyone. The whole entire community loved him, and this is just a very big loss,” Donovan said.

While he was not surprised by the community’s outpouring of support for his family, Donovan said it was heartwarming to see everyone at the vigil.

“As I grew up here, I knew the tight-knit community that we have. So, this just goes to show how everyone loves each other over here, and everyone’s always there for each other,” he said.

The shooting happened on the afternoon of March 12. Toronto police said they were called to the area of Dundas Street East and Parliament Street and found two men and a woman suffering from gunshot wounds.

Toronto shooting

One of the men was pronounced at the scene, while the two other victims were rushed to the hospital. The second male victim later died of his injuries, police said.

The woman, who is the matriarch of the family, suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Police charged 23-year-old Benedict Johnson Kongolo with two counts of first-degree murder.

At the vigil, the family asked the public not to speculate about what exactly transpired during the incident.

“You were not there,” the eldest brother said. “It hurts my mom especially‚ĶThis is her child. She’s had him for nine months. That’s her husband. They’ve been together for a number of years. It’s going to hurt her more than you guys would know. You wouldn’t like it if you were in this situation.”

He called his mom, who was grazed in the head, a survivor and a strong woman.

“I would ask for you guys to send prayers. That’s what we need the most,” he said.