A Toronto mother says she is feeling “unbearable” pain after her son was fatally stabbed at a TTC station on the weekend, but she is speaking out because she thinks officials need to do more to help people in crisis.
In an emotional interview with CBC Radio’s As It Happens, Andrea Magalhaes said the pain of losing her son is “horrible.”
Gabriel Magalhaes, 16, was stabbed while sitting on a bench at Keele subway station on Saturday. Police were called to the station shortly before 9 p.m. Magalhaes was rushed with life-threatening injuries to hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Jordan O’Brien-Tobin, 22, of no fixed address, has been charged with first degree murder.
“There are no words to express the pain,” Andrea Magalhaes told CBC host Nil Köksal on Monday.
“I am still numb. I can’t even describe what I feel. It’s the worst thing a person can ever, ever feel. I’ve been through pain before, but my God, this is unbearable.”
Magalhaes said she feels it is important to speak out about the senseless violence on the TTC. She said she said she hopes officials can hear the pain in her voice and she wants them to imagine “it is your child that could be murdered on the subway” when they are making decisions about whether public services deserve funding.
“I am hoping that people will raise their voices so we can be heard. More needs to be done to help people in crisis. More needs to be done so that people don’t get to the point where they are in crisis,” she said.
“We need more social services. We need more investment into physical and mental health. We need more supports for housing. I feel like, as things go the way they are going right now, so many people are going to be suffering the horrible pain that I am going through right now.”
“Honestly, I wanted to just hide in my bed and never get up again, but I am taking every ounce of strength I have left to just get his story out there.”
LISTEN | The mother of a teen boy fatally stabbed at a TTC station speaks out:
As It Happens7:02Mother of Toronto subway stabbing victim speaks following 16-year-old’s death
Magalhaes said she knew her son was going to Keele station that night and then she saw on the news that a man had been stabbed at the station.
She said she didn’t think it was Gabriel because “he’s a kid,” but it was getting late, he was not coming home, he was not responding to text messages and he was not answering his phone.
“I was getting more and more anxious and afraid, but I thought, ‘no, no, no, it’s not going to be him.'”
At about 3 a.m., someone rang the bell and she jumped out of bed and ran downstairs. Then, she saw “two shadows through the glass door” and knew it wasn’t him. The shadows were detectives.
“I knew why they were here because I read about the story by then. I knew the person had died. I knew. I opened the door and I said, ‘I knew it.’ I just fell on the floor.”
‘He had high hopes for himself’
Gabriel was a sweet, beautiful boy, “my baby,” she said. He was young at heart and loving. She said he worked hard at school to overcome a learning disability. He was passionate about snow boarding and his family, she added.
“He had high hopes for himself,” she said. “I just cannot believe that his life was cut short.”
Andrea Magalhaes said she has a younger son, Lucas, 15, and she is trying to provide him with as much support as possible.
She said her family is receiving so much love from the people of Toronto right now.
Magalhaes’s death was the city’s 12th homicide this year.
The fatal stabbing is the latest in a series of violence acts on the TTC targeting transit riders and workers.
The city added extra police patrols this winter, but that measure recently ended. Now the city has announced plans to send outreach workers onto the the transit system to connect people to services.
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