‘Beloved’ Toronto teacher murdered in brazen, public shooting

ABOVE: The principal of Lawrence Heights Middle School held an emotional press conference Tuesday afternoon during which he praised Hassan as a rising star in the TDSB

TORONTO – A 31-year-old supply teacher, beloved by students and staff at Lawrence Heights middle school, was shot and killed in the city’s west end early Tuesday morning.

Abshir Hassan was gunned down just after midnight outside an apartment building on Flemington Road near Allen Road and Lawrence Avenue.

The principal of Lawrence Heights Middle School held an emotional press conference Tuesday afternoon during which he praised Hassan as a rising star in the Toronto District School Board.

“I was so impressed with him and I just really wanted to see him realize his dream of becoming a teacher in the TDSB,” he said. “He was beloved by the students. He always had time for them, would spend extra hours in the gym running pickup basketball games, taking his lunch hour to do that.”

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Hassan was a supply teacher at Lawrence Heights for four years, grew up in the community and lived in a nearby apartment.

“He was here as many days as he could and he is going to be dearly missed,” David daBelle said.

He was not known to police.

WATCH: A neighbourhood is reeling after a violent triple shooting in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Catherine McDonald reports. 

Two others – a 22-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman – were injured in the shooting.

“This was a very brazen, cowardly act to a community that has made great strides in the last few years to bring a sense of calm and safety to the area,” said 32 Division Inspector Timothy Crone.

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Witnesses tell police they heard a vehicle drive away from the scene following the incident.

“The information we have so far is that a vehicle pulled up. Right now, it’s still to be determined how many people there are,” said Insp. Crone.

Toronto police have not released further information on the shooting, but are looking for multiple suspects.

They are still working on a motive, as well as suspect and a vehicle description.

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