TORONTO, Ont. – Tyson Bailey was a “diamond-in-the-rough kid” and a budding athlete on the Central Technical School junior football team whose run was abruptly cut short when he was gunned down at a Regent Park highrise Friday, his football coach said.
“Every now and then, you get to see a boy — a football player in the game grow — and become like a man, like a glimpse of what kind of man he could become,” said Norm Davis, coach of the school’s junior football team.
Davis said the 15-year-old could have played at the college level.
“It is the reason why I teach, it is the reason why I coach because you can see the good in him,” he said.
“He understood what a student-athlete is. He understood that there’s a part in the field and there’s a part in the classroom,” Davis said.
“I’m really going to miss him.”
Video: Tyson Bailey playing football for Central Technical School
Volunteer coach Steven Vitorino said Bailey had raw talent.
“He’s one of those kids that I told ‘you stay in school and you could be going to college for free’ and he was doing that.”
Bailey was found in a stairwell on the 13th floor of a highrise in the Dundas Street and River Street area Friday afternoon, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He died after being taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Police said Bailey did not have a criminal record or any known gang affiliations and was “by all accounts, a fine young man.”
Police believe the teenager was targeted.
“This kind of a murder — I would suggest — is not a random murder,” Det.-Sgt. Justin VanderHeyden said Friday.
“Tyson was either lured here or came here for a reason.”
Students and staff at Central Tech are devastated by the star running back’s murder.
“He was an excellent teammate and a very nice guy,” a teammate told CityNews.
“I’m in shock. He didn’t deserve it. He was incredibly committed — he’d stay late for football and come early for basketball,” the teenager said.
“As much as we share condolences with the Bailey family, the Central Technical School family is shaken, I’d say, to the core,” principal Sheryl Freeman said.
The high school would like to establish a scholarship in memory of Bailey.
Grief counsellors were on hand Monday to speak to students and staff at the high school.
Bailey’s number seven jersey will be signed by the team and given to his family.