Local Toronto rapper Smoke Dawg has been identified as one of the victims in Saturday night’s downtown shooting.
Friends of Smoke Dawg confirmed his death with Global News Sunday morning due to what Mayor John Tory is calling gang-related violence.
The rapper, whose real name is Jahvante Smart, was 21 years old. The other victim was identified by police as Ernest “Kosi” Modekwe, 28, also known under the artist name Koba Prime. The two were part of the rap collective, Prime.
In a GoFundMe page for Modekwe, he is described as “a loving son, big brother, boyfriend, friend, employee and more.”
“His infectious smile lit up any room he entered and he was instantly friends with anyone he met.”
Tory told reporters Sunday morning that he’s “damn mad” about the recent shootings in Toronto.
“This city has always been safe and the objective is to keep it safe. These are people, some of these people who are out on bail and have been doing this repeatedly, involved with gangs who are the only ones that pose a threat to the safety of this city and that’s why I think they should be kept behind bars,” he said.
A 21-year-old rapper from Toronto, Smoke Dawg is most known for his popular remix of ‘Trap House,’ featuring American hip-hop artist French Montanna.
He was a member of the Halal Gang, which includes rappers Safe, Puffy L’z and Mo-G.
Notable rapper Drake took to social media Saturday night to express his sadness over the loss.
“All these gifts and blessed souls and inner lights being extinguished lately is devastating,” it read.
“I wish peace would wash over our city. So much talent and so many stories we never get to see play out. Rest up Smoke.”
Smoke Dawg toured with Drake on the ‘Boy Meets World’ tour in February and March 2017. Drake also appeared in one of his concerts in London, Ontario.
He posted what would be his last music video, “Fountain Freestyle,” to YouTube on June 25 – only five days before his death.
Regent Park community member, Hamida Sheiku, told Global News the rapper was a prominent figure within the community.
“He’s a big figure in this community, a lot of people know him from his music,” she said.
“He was a part of a rap group that were pretty big around here and a lot of people look up to him.”
Firaaz Azeez, another community member, said it’s a loss.
“It’s sad, it’s really sad. Opportunities are not abundant in this community,” he said.
By late Saturday, many had taken to social media to express condolences over the loss of the local artist.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help his family cover funeral costs.
Toronto police said they were called to the area of Queen Street West near Peter Street with reports of gunshots fired on Saturday evening around 8 p.m.
Upon arrival, three victims were found with injuries. Toronto Paramedic Services said they transported two men with life-threatening injuries to a trauma centre and one woman with non-life threatening injuries to a local hospital.
Later Saturday night, police said one of the men died of his injuries in hospital. They said the second man succumbed to his injuries as well early Sunday morning. The third victim remains in hospital. They would not identify the suspects to Global News.
Toronto police said the suspects may have fled in a black SUV or a white car. They have not released any other information on the suspects at this time.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 416-808-7400 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.
— with files from Kamil Karamali