Funeral held for man shot on Toronto streetcar
'Sammy never hurt anyone,' family friend says of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim
Family and friends said their final goodbyes at a funeral today for Sammy Yatim, who was shot and killed by police while the 18-year-old was armed with a knife aboard a streetcar.
His younger sister urged mourners to take action to ensure his death is the last of its kind.
"Please everybody, let's be strong. Stop with the tears and start with the action," Sarah Yatim told those who came to pay their respects to her brother.
"He wasn't the first to die this way, but hopefully he can be the last," she said in a tribute to the young man whose death has captured national attention.
Dozens of media members were waiting outside the property, and are not permitted to attend the funeral in suburban Scarborough, near the family home.
Joseph Nazar, a friend of the family, spoke with media beforehand and said Yatim's mother, Sahar Bahadi, is so devastated she had a hard time standing yesterday.
"There's a lot of questions unanswered, obviously, but we know one thing," he said. "Sammy was taken away from us. Sammy never hurt anyone."
Amateur videos viewed more than a million times show Yatim being shot at nine times in rapid succession just after midnight ET on Saturday while he was alone on a stopped streetcar. Just before police arrived, Yatim reportedly stood up and brandished a knife on the 505 streetcar on Dundas Street West near Trinity Bellwoods Park.
Sarah Yatim's sister donned a T-shirt bearing his photo and the words "9 shots...?" and the situation was tense after the funeral with some in the crowd threatening members of the media.
Many people have responded with anger at the Toronto police force and Const. James Forcillo, named as the officer who fired the shots, but Nazar said in a previous interview Wednesday that the family doesn't support that anger.
Nazar, among the mourners and media at a funeral home visitation Wednesday night, said the justice system must be allowed to take its course.
"We're not a part of anybody who's scolding the police," he said. "We respect the police, we respect the force."
- Read the 6 things police are taught about using force
- Read about whether body-worn cameras will help police and the public
Some who attended the visitation, including Chandra Seecharran, didn't know Yatim.
"It's not right at all … He's just a little boy lying in that casket," she said.
'There is full co-operation'
People at the visitation told CBC reporter Steven Bull that they still want to know why police shot Yatim, but they'll need to wait until Ontario's police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, completes its investigation.
Ontario ombudsman André Marin told CBC News on Wednesday that police rarely co-operate fully with the SIU — a comment that didn't go over well with Toronto police Chief Bill Blair.
"All 22 witness officers have given their statements," he said. "This is full co-operation with the SIU investigation and unfortunately, Mr. Marin's uninformed comments aren't very helpful to the situation."
Blair did not attend Yatim's funeral, but the family has thanked him for reaching out to them personally.