The news of an arrest in the shooting death of a Markham father has given his grieving family a sense of relief, but his sisters say the impact of his loss will be eternal.
Michael Lewis was at Coronation Park on Sept. 2 to attend the memorial for a 2009 shooting victim when he became one himself.
Toronto police say four men approached the 25-year-old and briefly spoke with him before one man pulled out a gun. Witnesses say at least six shots were fired at close range.
Lewis’s two young children, aged nine and six, and his pregnant girlfriend Emily were nearby when the gunfire rang out. Emily reportedly ran to his side and was helpless as he slipped away.
On Friday, less than two weeks to the day, police announced an arrest in his murder.
Andrew Douglas, 25, of Toronto was charged with one count of first-degree murder.
Consuela and Tara Lewis say they do not know the man charged, nor are they aware of any connection to their slain brother.
Speaking to CTV News Toronto, the sisters commended Toronto police for the arrest, but said the family is still struggling to come to terms with their brother’s absence.
“We’re going to have to live with this for the rest of our lives. We’re the older sisters, we’re supposed to be taking care of him and now he’s gone,” Tara Lewis said, pausing as she choked back her emotions.
“It’s going to take time but thank God we have all these wonderful memories of him. He’s going to live on that way.”
The sisters say they’ve tried to be strong for Lewis’s two small children.
“To see my niece and nephew hurt like that, it hurt me, it hurt all of us. It was the hardest thing to say, that their dad is not coming back… (But) we wanted them to know that they still have family,” Consuela Lewis said.
“This is not something you get over in one day. You have to continue to be around family. Family is a big thing for us and we’re always around each other to support each other.”
The “long, long road” to justice ahead of them is what the sisters say they’re focused on now.
“We want to make sure that all the dots are in a row in order to make sure that this person pays for what he’s alleged to have done to our family and everybody else who has been impacted by this tragedy,” Consuela said.
Lewis was a family man and the youngest of five siblings. Despite a busy schedule working as construction worker, his sisters say he always made time to be with his children.
His big, unforgettable smile was what they say he will always be remembered for.
The sisters say their parents have struggled the most.
“Regardless of if they have someone under arrest of not, it’s not going to bring our brother back,” Tara said. “But for my parents, it’s a little bit of closure because now they can face this person.”
Police say an “extensive” investigation led them to their shift arrest.
“We had units combined, both our homicide and our gun and gangs,” Const. Jen Sidhu said. “They were able to locate him and safely arrest him late last night.”
Douglas, who police say is known to them, was due to appear in court on Friday.