‘Our lives have been crushed’: Muzik shooting victims’ families call for answers 1 year later
TORONTO – A year after a brazen shooting at a packed Toronto nightclub claimed the lives of two young people, the victims’ families say they’re still grappling to understand how and why it happened – and a police investigation has given them few clues.
Duvel Hibbert, 23, and Ariela Navarro-Fenoy, 26, were both killed after gunfire erupted at the Muzik nightclub, where thousands had gathered for an afterparty for rapper Drake’s OVO Fest music festival.
Hibbert was shot dead on the club’s patio, while Navarro-Fenoy was fatally shot a short time later while walking away from the party, north of the club. Three others were also injured.
So far, no arrests have been made, and police continue to search for two persons of interest.
Meanwhile, investigators have made multiple appeals for witnesses to come forward, the latest issued last month.
Hibbert’s sister Angelique says coming to terms with his death in the public eye has been a struggle for her family, particularly with so much still unknown.
“The fact that we have no answers as to why this happened – it’s been really hard, especially with my mom,” she said.
“She’s such a strong woman. She raised us well, working multiple jobs, and the loss of Duvel is really hard on her.”
Navarro-Fenoy’s sister Aluen has also spoken out about her family’s loss. She tearfully addressed reporters the day of her sister’s funeral, and recently made another emotional plea for people to come forward with any information they have.
“My sister Ariela Navarro-Fenoy is more than just a hashtag on the Internet. She was a light in everyone’s lives that she connected with,” she said.
“We can’t act like Ari’s murder never happened. We need your help in bringing Ari’s murderer to justice. Our lives have been crushed and shattered, and the pain of our loss is unbearable.”
Despite what police describe as “a great deal of co-operation” from the public since last summer, Toronto police detective Omar Khan said investigators are still seeking tips, and not just from eyewitnesses.
Police have said Navarro-Fenoy was an innocent bystander while they believe Hibbert was an intended target of the shooting, though they declined to say what led them to that conclusion.
Angelique Hibbert said her family is also in the dark in that regard.
Hibbert’s parents, Delroy Hibbert and Auline Lewis, filed a lawsuit against the Muzik nightclub in February. Their lawyer Michael Smitiuch said the suit alleges there was inadequate security at the club to deal with the number of patrons. He said the family is also considering adding the security company employed by the club at the time to the lawsuit.
None of the allegations have been proven in court. Smitiuch said he expects the lawsuit will take time, and the family’s goal is to prevent the tragedy they’ve experienced from happening to anyone else.
Angelique Hibbert says that before her brother died, he contacted her to ask for help making a resume. As Duvel’s older sister, Angelique says she had a protective, maternal bond with him and wanted to help him as he made plans to move to Windsor, Ont., for a new start.
Now, the family is gathering to mark the one-year anniversary of Duvel’s death, hoping people will come forward so someone will be held accountable.
“My family knew who Duvel was. He was very loving, he was very caring and he always stood up for his family,” Angelique said.
“Now, when I think about him I have to go to his grave site and talk to him there. I never thought in a million years that our family would be in this position.”
© 2016 The Canadian Press