A 19-year-old man who was killed over the weekend in Little Portugal after he was rundown on his bike by an SUV and allegedly stabbed by its occupants is being described as “tenacious” and “hard working” by his wrestling coach.
Toronto police said Aaron Rankine-Wright was on his way to work when he was struck by a dark-coloured SUV at Frankish and Sheridan Avenues near Bloor Street West and Dundas Street West.
Police said witnesses told them there were three men inside the SUV who, after striking Rankine-Wright, got out of the vehicle and began kicking and punching him.
Rankine-Wright was found unconscious and was then rushed to hospital. The cause of death was determined to be a stab wound to the chest.
Investigators said three men fled the scene after the SUV struck a tree but that a 17-year-old was eventually arrested and charged with first-degree murder.
Rankine-Wright was a wrestler with the non-profit youth development organization “Beat the Streets.”
Neal Ewers, who is executive director of the organization and worked with Rankine-Wright as his coach, said he was a very strong-mind individual.
“[He was] tenacious, hardworking and strong — he would work for every point,” Ewers said.
He said Rankine-Wright had quit school and moved out of the home he lived in with his single mother. He was currently working full time and training at the time of his death.
“His mom’s words were that wrestling was one of the best influences of his life at this point and he was fully dedicated to it. He did it the best he could,” Ewers said.
“Aaron didn’t deserve this … it’s a sad situation of a bunch of young guys who made wrong decisions.”
Det. Sgt. Mike Carbone said in a news conference on Sunday that investigators believe this to be a targeted incident.
He said investigators are looking for two other suspects related to the incident.
The suspects are described as males in their teens to early twenties wearing dark clothing.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 416-808-7000 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.