04/28/2013 01:23 EDT | Updated 06/28/2013 05:12 EDT

Mayor Ford Coached Young Man Shot Dead In Northeast Toronto


As Toronto police work to find the suspect in a fatal shooting that took a young man’s life, Mayor Rob Ford says he is reeling from the news that one of his former players is dead.

When speaking on his weekly radio show, Ford told listeners Sunday about receiving news that 20-year-old Kwado "Kojo" Mensah had been killed.

The mayor said Mensah was a member of "the Bosco family," in reference to the Etobicoke high school where Ford coaches a football team.

"He was truly a very nice, polite young man," Ford said on his show, which is broadcast on Newstalk 1010.

Ford also said Mensah was "a phenomenal football player" who never gave his coaches any trouble.

The mayor's words were echoed by Andre Pokhodun, a coach who met Mensah when he first came out to play football.

"He was always smiling, always smiling," Pokhodun told CBC News in an interview.

The slain man’s mother, Juliana Mensah, said her son was kind, charming and he always let her know how much he cared for her.

"Every day he used to tell me: 'Mom, I love you. Mom, I love you. And now where is my son, where is my son?'" she told CBC News in an interview on Sunday.

He once talked about being a pastor, though Mensah said her son is no longer around and won’t be able “to share the word” with others.

"I love my son and I will never forget him," she said.

Two shootings

Ford's comments came hours after police issued a news release saying that the shooting was one of two that occurred in rapid succession last Thursday evening and that investigators say are connected.

The initial shooting occurred near the Grace Hartman Housing Co-op at Morningside Avenue and Old Finch Avenue just before 8 p.m. on Thursday.

Police officers found the victim’s body on a pathway in the co-op. They performed CPR on him until paramedics arrived, but he could not be revived.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. Police have since identified him as Mensah.

Three hours later, police were called to a Toronto hospital, where a 32-year-old man told staff that he had been shot earlier in the evening.

Police say their investigation has determined that the two shootings are linked.

According to police, the shootings began after Mensah and two friends drove up to the co-op in a vehicle.

When Mensah got out of the vehicle, police say he got into an altercation with a male suspect who produced a handgun and shot him several times.

The two friends immediately fled the scene, but they were fired upon as they drove away. One of those shots hit the driver in his lower body.

Police are now seeking a black male suspect, who is believed to be in his late teens or early 20s, 5-8" to 5-9" tall with a medium build and short hair.

The suspect was seen wearing a dark-blue Adidas track suit and Nike running shoes, police say.

Anyone with information is asked to contact investigators at 416-808-7400, or to call Crime Stoppers at 416-222-8477.

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