Family says Toronto teen shot in Hamilton was charismatic and loved to dance

Natshon Defreitas died after being shot around 4 a.m. during the gathering at 470 Beach Rd., an empty building where police believe several late-night parties have been held in recent weeks.

Police believe the party wasn't a one-off and are asking anyone who attended to contact them

Natshon Defreitas, 19, was shot and killed while attending an after-hours party in Hamilton on Sept. 23. His family describes the teen as a charismatic young man who loved dancing and sports. (GoFundMe)

The family of Natshon Defreitas, the Toronto teenager who was shot and killed at an after-hours party in Hamilton early Sunday, describe him as a charismatic teenager who loved to dance. 

The 19-year-old died after being shot around 4 a.m. during the gathering at 470 Beach Rd., an empty building where police believe several late-night parties have been held in recent weeks.

Party-goers first tried to transport Defreitas to hospital in a pickup truck, according to Staff Sgt. Steve Bereziuk. But along the way they met up with members of the Hamilton Fire Department and transferred the teen to the ambulance that rushed him rushed to Hamilton General Hospital.

Defreitas was pronounced dead at hospital around 6 a.m.

Hamilton police search a pickup truck after Natshon Defreitas, 19, was died of a gunshot wound on Sept. 23. (Andrew Collins/CBC)

An autopsy confirmed the teenager died of a gunshot wound, but police have not said how many shots were fired or where Defreitas was hit.

The service also has not released any sort of suspect description.

Defreitas was described in a family statement provided by police as a social, likeable teen who enjoyed sports, especially track and field. 

"It is with deep sadness that we lay to rest our Son Natshon Defreitas, a life taken too soon," read a GoFundMe account that had raised more than $2,500 of its $3,000 goal Wednesday afternoon.

Police want to talk to party-goers

Police are still working to piece together exactly what happened at the party in the lead up to the shooting.

The gathering was attended by 35-50 people and held in an empty office building attached to a garage that was "relatively vanilla" and barren, although alcohol was served, said Bereziuk.

Hamilton police officers were seen combing through an alley near the scene of the city's sixth homicide for 2018. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

Investigators believe the get-together wasn't a one-time event and that a number of other parties were held there in the past three weeks.

The owner of the building was renting it out and unaware of the party, said Bereziuk, adding police also didn't know the gatherings were going on.

"It was certainly more than once, but it wasn't something that was on our radar," he said. "There wasn't something that caught the attention of Hamilton police with noise complaints or even neighbour complaints."

Police are asking anyone who attended the party to contact them at 905-546-3874 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.