Jitesh Vasudev said his 21-year-old son Kartik had dreamed of coming to Canada to work and study before he arrived in Toronto earlier this year.
That dream became a nightmare Thursday evening when the Indian international student was gunned down outside of Sherbourne subway station in a shooting that has left more questions than answers for Vasudev and his family.
“Why has this happened to him? I don’t know. Why he killed my innocent son, I just want to know,” Vasudev told CTV News Toronto on Saturday while fighting back tears. “If he wanted something from him, he could have snatched it. Why has he killed him? It’s a brutal murder.”
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Kartik, a student at Seneca College, was on his way to work at 5 p.m. when he was shot several times outside of the Glen Road entrance to Sherbourne station in Toronto’s St. James Town neighbourhood.
Police said an off-duty paramedic was at the scene and administered first aid to Kartik before he was rushed to St. Michael’s Hospital and pronounced dead.
“He was shot six or seven times, that was very brutal. I just want to know what happened. What was the reason behind that?” Vasudev said, speaking from India.
Kartik Vasudev, 21, is shown in an image provided to CP24 by his family.
The Consulate General of India identified Kartik in a post to Twitter Friday. Vasudev said his family is working with the consulate to bring his body back to India.
Details surrounding the shooting are scarce, but police have said the suspect is a Black male standing five-foot-six to five-foot-seven inches tall with a medium build who was last seen carrying a handgun and walking south on Glen Road toward Howard Street.
Anyone with information related to the shooting is asked to contact police at 416-808-7400 or Crime Stoppers.
SHERBOURNE SHOOTING VICTIM REMEMBERED BY FAMILY AS ‘PEACEFUL, GENTLE’
In the aftermath of the shooting, Kartik’s father is remembering his son as a ‘very bright student’ who had his whole life ahead of him.
“I don’t know why this happened to him,” Vasudev said. “He was a very bright student. He was very polite, very gentle.”
The marketing student made the long trip to Toronto in January after three years of studies in India. Vasudev said his son had worked hard to make the journey and thought that Canada was a safe place.
“He was loving this country and was saying that this was a very good country,” Vasudev said.
“We can’t even believe that this has happened to my son.”
Kartik’s childhood best friend, Nidhi Vaid, also described him as “a very gentle person.” She told CP24 on Saturday that her best friend was excited to start a new life in Canada and explore the country.
“Anyone who knew him knew how good he was. He was a gem of a person. It’s very unfortunate, whatever happened because he just moved here,” Vaid said.
“He was very clear about his goals,” she added. “He has not been out much because it just been three months…He has a lot of plans for the summers. And we never knew this would have happened.”
She is appealing to anyone who knows something about the shooting to come forward to the police. Vaid said it was Kartik’s first time in the Sherbourne Station area as it was not his regular route.
“It was the first time that he went there for some work. We are shocked at why and how this happened,” she said.
“We really want justice for Kartik.”
A candlelight vigil is set to take place at Nathan Phillips Square on Sunday in Kartik’s memory. A GoFundMe fundraising page has been setup to help support the family.
With files from CP24’s Bryann Aguilar and Chris Herhalt