Toronto

Vaughan shooting victim Mila Barberi, 28, remembered as 'bright soul'

Mila Barberi, originally from Vaughan, was found on Caster Avenue near Highway 407 and Weston Road and was pronounced dead after being transported to hospital.

Mila Barberi was pronounced dead after being shot in an industrial section of Vaughan

Mila Barberi, originally from Vaughan, was found on Caster Avenue near Highway 407 and Weston Road and was pronounced dead after being transported to hospital. (Facebook)

Just below the posts of shock and sadness on Mila Barberi's Facebook page Wednesday, is a post wishing the 28-year-old a happy birthday.

The message, dated March 6, was posted less than 10 days before Barberi died following a shooting in a Vaughan industrial complex. 

A 40-year-old man was also shot but suffered only minor injuries. It's believed to have been a targeted hit, a police source tells CBC Toronto.

"Happy birthday to my other half, Mila Barberi," one post reads. "Everyone knows you are unforgettable. Your light, essence and energy (even when times are hard) are a blessing to those around you... Here's to more dance parties and seconds at Nonno's house."

Just below the posts of shock and sadness on Mila Barberi's Facebook page Wednesday, is a post wishing the 28-year-old a happy birthday. (Facebook)

Shooting was targeted, sources say

On Tuesday, York Regional Police officers found Barberi without vital signs on Caster Avenue in the Highway 407 and Weston Road area after shots rang out. She was rushed to hospital before being pronounced dead.

Police are not identifying the man who was shot. Police said the two victims were known to each other, but would not give information about their relationship.

Police are now searching for a suspect believed to be a man, about six feet, two inches tall and about 250 pounds. He was last seen fleeing the scene westbound on Caster Avenue. He is believed to have been wearing a dark jacket with his face covered, driving a dark-coloured Jeep Grand Cherokee.

A police source says based on how the shooter was completely covered up, he appears to have been executing a professional hit. 

The shooting occurred in broad daylight outside an industrial building on Caster Avenue in Vaughan. (Makda Ghebreslassie/CBC)

"Investigators with the York Regional Police homicide unit are seeking suspects and appealing to any witnesses to come forward," said Const. Laura Nicolle in a recorded statement.

Nicolle said the shooting took place in a busy area in the middle of the afternoon, so it's likely people witnessed the attack. She appealed to anyone who might have seen the Jeep, as well as any businesses with video footage or drivers with dashboard cameras.

An SUV is seen with shattered glass in an industrial section of Vaughan, where Mila Barberi was shot Tuesday afternoon. (Makda Ghebreslassie/CBC)

'A shining light'

On Wednesday, Barberi was being remembered as "a bright soul," and "a shining light in an unkind world." 

"Mila my love, I don't understand how this happened," wrote one woman, who said she spent two years working with Barberi. "I will always miss your smiling face."

"Mia, this world will not be the same without you," wrote another woman.

Following her death, Mila Barberi's Facebook page is filled with posts of love and sadness. (Facebook)

"My dear cousin, I have struggled to find some words, words to properly portray how I feel," wrote one man. "But I don't think there will ever be the right words."

Anyone with information is asked to contact the homicide unit at 1-866-876-5423 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

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