Karolina Huebner-Makurat Obituary, Death – Parents with strollers and couples holding hands filled the streets of Leslieville as the sun shone brightly on a Saturday afternoon. But there was also a developing picture of mourning at the corner of Queen and Carlaw, where 44-year-old Karolina Huebner-Makurat was remembered after she was shot and killed on Friday afternoon.
At first, there were only a few potted plants and arrangements of colorful blossoms; by lunchtime, however, what had started as a solitary stem in a pot labeled “Rest in Peace” and a small bouquet concealed behind a pipe had grown to six potted plants and arrangements. A note said, “We are so very sorry for your loss,” and was attached to one of the plants.
On Friday, just before 12:30 p.m., a shooting occurred, sending shockwaves through this east-end neighborhood. After receiving a complaint of a shooting near Queen and Carlaw, police learned that it followed an alleged verbal and physical dispute across the street. A single victim, initially only known to be a woman in her forties, was hit by a stray bullet. The woman was reportedly taken to a Toronto trauma center and given CPR before being pronounced dead.
The woman’s identity remained a mystery as the monument expanded on a Saturday morning. Early that afternoon, though, authorities published a statement identifying the victim as Huebner-Makurat. Police issued a photo of Huebner-Makurat that showed her with a broad grin from ear to ear, her blond hair tucked behind her ear, and her blue eyes focused on a point beyond the camera.
On Saturday, a woman who only gave her name as Agnes said she had known Karolina, who she called Caroline among her friends since they were children and was standing by the memorial. Her companion was wonderful, she claimed, and the two had met through their work in Toronto’s Polish community. Agnes, obviously impressed by the performance, told reporters, “Everything about her was just beautiful.”
Paula Fletcher, a city council member whose Toronto-Danforth constituency includes Leslieville, said she never met Huebner-Makurat but had heard many wonderful things about her since her death on Friday. According to Fletcher, the death of the local mother, who was “a very well-known community member,” sent shockwaves through a local school and daycare. “People are devastated… I think everybody is just in shock.”
She had noticed the beginnings of the memorial on the north side of Queen and Carlaw and thought nothing of it. “Leslieville is a community with great heart, great compassion, and great caring,” she remarked. An overwhelming amount of people have expressed their sorrow and support for the family. South Riverdale Community Health Centre,
which claimed on Friday that it was cooperating with local police on their investigation, closed its doors across the street from the collection of flowers and condolence letters, near the location where the alleged confrontation took place. The front entrance was closed for the rest of Friday and Saturday with a paper notice informing passers-by that a security guard had been hired to sit there for the next two weeks.
It seemed like fingerprint powder had been sprinkled all over a nearby parked car early that morning. The police tape that had previously blocked off the area had been removed, but evidence markers could still be seen on the south side of the road. A lone glove from a first responder lay abandoned beside a planter, as did other subtle reminders of the tragedy. On Saturday afternoon, Toronto police updated the situation, saying that out of the three people they had identified as being involved in the incident, two male suspects were still at large.
According to their inquiry, two of the men had fired their handguns at each other, one of which had hit Huebner-Makurat as he walked past. The police say the two suspects, one a Black man between five and six feet tall wearing a white shirt and the other a Black man in a dark T-shirt with a floral print and blue jeans, fled the scene on foot and are asking anyone with dash cam or CCTV footage in the area to get in touch.