Toronto, CA - It was a heartbreaking day for Chaldean loved ones who had to say goodbye to a teenager killed in a hit-and-run last weekend. Mark Shaba, 19, had no idea the party he attended Saturday night would be his last.
Police said Shaba was struck by a Ford Explorer and dragged to his death. Hours later, 25-year-old Gagan Deep Singh of Mississauga was arrested, faced with several charges including impaired driving and criminal negligence causing death.
Mark Shaba, 19, died several hours after being run down outside the Arizona B-Bar & Grill on Carlingview Dr., near Dixon Rd., Sunday. Police later arrested the driver of an SUV. Friends told Shaba's family he tried to intervene in a fight between his friends and another group of patrons and opened the SUV driver's door.
As the grey metal casket carrying his only son was carried into a North York church yesterday, Nazar Shaba cried out his name repeatedly. "Mark! Mark!" wailed the Iraqi-born dad, 43, lamenting in his language outside the Church of the Good Shepherd on High Meadow Blvd.
In Thursday's emotional funeral service, Shaba's little sister clutched his photo in her arms as she led the coffin toward the Good Shepherd Church in Etobicoke. She was followed by a procession of tearful family and friends.
A painter with a kitchen cabinet firm, he planned to return to school to continue his stalled education, sister Merina Shaba, 15, said. Inside the Finch Ave.-Arrow Rd. area church, she delivered a short eulogy, the only portion of the service in English. Saying her only sibling's death has been "devastating," the girl said "I didn't expect it to happen.
"Mark was my big brother, my best friend and my life," she told 200 mourners.
"A good person has passed away," she said. "I know my brother is in a better place.
"You are always meant to be a big part of my heart. May you rest in peace."
Archbishop Hanna Zora, of the Chaldean Catholic Church, conducted the 90-minute service in the ancient Chaldean tongue, which predates Jesus Christ.
Incense was burned and brass bells were rung by assistants near the altar of the chapel as Zora recited ritual prayers and led responses.
After the service, the casket, with a large bouquet of red roses and a white ribbon inscribed "From Mom and Dad" on top, was turned ritualistically several times on the shoulders of the pallbearers.
Comforted by relatives, Shatha Salman, 40, wept as she was helped into a limousine before it was driven to a cemetery for her son's burial.
One block south, accused driver Gagan Deep Singh, 25, of Mississauga, appeared again in a Finch Ave. W. court and was returned to custody until Nov. 6 for a bail hearing. He is charged with criminal negligence causing death, impaired driving causing death and failing to remain at an accident causing death.