Toronto

'We wish our sweet angel eternal peace': Danforth shooting victim Reese Fallon mourned at visitation

Crowds of tearful mourners gathered to remember Reese Fallon at a public visitation on Sunday, a week after she was killed in a shooting rampage in Toronto's bustling Greektown neighbourhood.

18-year-old was out for ice cream with friends when she was fatally shot

A visitation was held for Reese Fallon at a Scarborough funeral home Sunday. (Facebook)

Crowds of tearful mourners gathered to remember Reese Fallon at a public visitation on Sunday, a week after she was killed in a shooting rampage in Toronto's bustling Greektown neighbourhood.

They lined up quietly inside the east Toronto funeral home, tissues in hand, to grieve the 18-year-old who died when a gunman opened fire on pedestrians and restaurant-goers on a busy street last Sunday. Ten-year-old Julianna Kozis was also killed, and 13 others were injured — some critically.

The gunman, 29-year-old Faisal Hussain, was found dead with a gunshot wound nearby after exchanging fire with police, and two concurrent investigations into the incident — one by Toronto police and the other by the province's police watchdog — are ongoing.

Fallon was out for ice cream with friends Sunday evening when a gunman wandered down Danforth Avenue, indiscriminately cracking off bullets into restaurants and bars. 

'It feels like a nightmare'

And it was one week ago that Julie Steel spoke with Fallon for what would be the last time.

"It feels like a nightmare where we can't wake up," Steel said. "I really cared a lot about Reese… There are really no words to express how awful we feel about all of it."

It was one week ago that Julie Steel spoke with Fallon for what would be the last time. Fallon often took care of her and Mark Steel's children. (CBC)

Fallon was a caregiver to Julie and Mark Steel's daughters. Mark Steel also taught the Grade 12 student chemistry. 

"That kid was doing everything right and it still happened," he told CBC News on Sunday. 

"Just admitting to ourselves that this is real and it did happen and that we're not in a nightmare and that it's real life. Everyday just hoping that 'oh maybe today if I wake up I'll realize this is not true,' but that hasn't happened."

'Deeply missed but not forgotten'

Fallon had graduated from Toronto's Malvern Collegiate Institute just last month and was weeks away from attending McMaster University to study nursing — something Steel says the whip-smart teen would have excelled at

At the visitation on Sunday, Fallon was remembered for her life rather than her death.

A makeshift memorial honours 18-year-old Reese Fallon and 10-year-old Julianna Kozis who died in last Sunday's brazen shooting. (Meagan Fitzpatrick/CBC)
A yearbook and other high school memorabilia lay on a table in the funeral home, next to a T-shirt for Hamilton's McMaster University, where she had been set to begin studying in the fall.

Photos of Fallon as a child and as a teen lined the hallway leading into the visitation room. 

The quote "I think everybody should like everybody," attributed to Andy Warhol, was printed on the back of memorial cards handed out to those in attendance.

In an obituary posted online, Fallon's family said Reese will be "deeply missed but not forgotten."

'She was a natural caregiver'

Fallon's family issued a statement Saturday saying they will always carry her memory in their hearts. They have asked for privacy during this time. 

"We wish our sweet angel eternal peace and light. We will never forget you for one moment," her family said. 

The message was also posted as an obituary on the funeral home's website, along with a 23-minute long tribute video featuring photos of Fallon throughout her short life. 

"Reese was born at Toronto East General hospital on Jan. 31, 2000, to proud and thrilled parents Doug Fallon and Claudine deBeaumont. Reese will be deeply missed by her big sister Riley and her little sister Quinn," the statement read.

Candles and photos of 18-year-old victim Reese Fallon at a memorial remembering the victims of a shooting on the Danforth in Toronto. (Mark Blinch/Canadian Press)

In the aftermath of her death, dozens of Fallon's classmates and teachers interrupted their summer vacations to grieve at the Toronto high school she attended, where she was remembered as a leader among her peers.

"Her plan was to become a mental-health nurse," said Anthony Parise, Fallon's English teacher, outside of the school on Tuesday.  

"Knowing what I know of Reese, she would have been an exceptional nurse, because she was a natural caregiver."   

A funeral, which will also be open to the public, is scheduled for Monday morning.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also expected to lay flowers at the site of the attack on Monday. 

With files from CBC News, Greg Ross

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