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Friends, family mourn Scarborough shooting victim at funeral

Joshua Yasay's mother is escorted into St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Ajax for her son's funeral service. Yasay was gunned down during a mass shooting last week at a Scarborough block party.

Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail

The mother of Joshua Yasay clung to her son's graduation photo as she trailed his coffin into a funeral mass in Ajax on Monday.

Mr. Yasay was just 23 when he was killed by crossfire in a shootout at a Danzig Street block party in East Scarborough less than a week ago. 

Mr. Yasay's dark burgundy coffin was guided into the St. Francis de Sales Parish by eight young friends dressed entirely in white.

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Walking behind their mother and stepfather were Mr. Yasay's two older sisters. The eldest, Jennilyn, sobbed into her sister's arms. 

It was a tragic conclusion to the life of a man who, by all accounts, inspired everyone around him. 

Inside, the two sisters spoke to more than 350 people who came to say goodbye to Mr. Yasay. 

Ms. Yasay read aloud memories and wishes written by his his friends. They all spoke of Mr. Yasay as a guiding influence -  someone who made people laugh and kept them on the right path. 

"What made him so special, besides his unique sense of humor, was Josh's ability to connect with people in a way not many could," she read. 

Mr. Yasay's volunteer work brought him in contact with youth from the Malvern area, a depressed location in East Scarborough. He had worked to prevent the exact type of gunplay that ultimately killed him. 

"The people responsible for this terrible shooting are condemned for judgement day," said Ms. Yasay, reading another friend's words. 

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As of Monday, no suspects have been arrested in relation to the shooting that left two people dead and more than 20 others injured. 

Outside the church, a single police cruiser patrolled the parking lot. 

But there was nothing more said about the events that took Mr. Yasay's life. Rather, much was spoken about his humour, his habit of keeping a beat with snapping fingers, and his ability to own the dance floor at parties. 

As she began to read her own, personal goodbye to her brother, Ms. Yasay struggled through tears behind her dark sunglasses. 

"I want you to know how proud I am to be your sister," she said. "We love you."

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