Friends of an Etobicoke teen killed in a double-stabbing this weekend gathered Monday evening to remember a young man they say loved life, never complained and always had a kind word to say to anyone he met.
Eighteen-year-old Maxwell Chavez's life was cut short on Saturday when he was stabbed at a plaza at Cawthra Road and Lakeshore Road East just before 1:00 a.m. Police located Chavez without vital signs and a second teen in serious condition.
Both were rushed to hospital, where Chavez was pronounced dead, leaving his family and high school community at Bishop Allen Academy reeling from the loss.
'The happiest person in the crowd'
"He was just starting his life and he didn't get to live it," said Rebecca Neves, speaking outside the school Monday night, where a memorial was set up with flowers, candles, cards, a basketball and cartons of milk — Chavez's favourite drink, according to his friends.
Chavez, Neves said, had just started a new job that he loved was starting to pay his own bills and planning his future.
On a GoFundMe page she set up for Chavez, she described him as a "gentle giant" who loved basketball, bike-riding and "always the happiest person in the crowd."
Stefano Back had known Chavez since Grade 5 and called the teen his best friend.
"Max, he was always smiling. He's the one who appreciated life the most out of all of us. There's people that take it for granted, we all complain. He never did and he's the one that has to go," Back said.
'Keeping me up at night'
Peel Police have not released any information on possible suspects, and are looking to speak with anyone who was in the area at the time of the stabbing.
Not knowing why Chavez was stabbed or anything more about the circumstances around his death is something his friends say makes his loss that much more difficult.
Chavez, Neves said, was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"It's been keeping me up at night," said Back, adding that when it's time to go to sleep, he's found himself panicked, nervous and wondering how Max is — before remembering the teen is gone.
"His mother has to be so strong … I can't imagine how she feels, her little baby, her only son is gone. I just hope she sees how many people knew and loved him."
The online fundraiser, which had a goal of $5,000, has reached more than $16,000 in two days — something Chavez's friends say is a testament to just how many people loved him.
"I don't think any of us really think he's gone yet," said friend Jade Machado. "I think we're all expecting to see Max and see that smile and see those eyes … expecting to hear his laugh."
Anyone with information is asked to call investigators at the Peel police's homicide and missing persons bureau at (905) 453-2121, ext. 3205, or leave an anonymous tip with Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477.)