TORONTO — A Toronto woman with a love of volunteering, an 80-year-old grandmother, a Jordanian man visiting relatives, a college student and two South Korean nationals were among those who died in a horrific van attack that sent shock waves through Canada’s largest city.
Ontario’s chief coroner said it would take days for the names of the deceased to be officially released, noting his office wanted to be careful to get things right.
But portraits of some of the victims of Monday’s attack started to develop as those who knew them began speaking out.
Anne Marie D’Amico was identified as one of the victims by a Toronto city councillor who said he had spoken to the woman’s father to express his condolences.
“It was clear that part of his life is gone,” said Coun. Cesar Palacio. “He’s living the worst nightmare ever of his life.”
Tennis Canada said D’Amico had volunteered at its marquis Rogers Cup tournament every summer since the age of 12, starting out as a “ball girl” and eventually heading its stadium control committee. The organization also said she worked at Invesco Canada, a U.S.-based investment firm with offices near the scene of the attack.
D’Amico was a cheerful and familiar presence at Rogers Cup, said Gavin Ziv, vice-president of national events for Tennis Canada.
Over the years, the young woman rose through the ranks and was eventually assigned to helping the elite athletes competing in the annual event, largely because of her patience and friendliness, he said.
“She was a really friendly, warm person … always caring for other people ahead of herself,” he said.
He recalled one incident in which a top female player lost the keys to her locker and D’Amico was recruited to help smash the lock.
“I remember Anne Marie going into the locker room and helping her pry open the locker to get all of her stuff out there for her because she had to catch a plane that night to leave town,” he said.
Volunteering was a family activity for the D’Amico clan, and over more than 15 years of involvement with the tournament, they became part of a tight-knit group of returning volunteers, Ziv said.
“We got to see her as a young kid and kind of blossoming and grow up,” he said.
Abdullah Snobar, who attended Ryerson University with D’Amico, said she had been known as an active student leader with top grades, a wide social circle and an indelible smile that could brighten up any hallway.
“Whether you kept in touch with her very closely or you didn’t talk to her for this past year, it just felt like you saw her smile yesterday,” he said.
MP Julie Dzerowicz said in a statement Tuesday that she was saddened to learn D’Amico was a resident of her Davenport riding.
“My heart breaks for Anne Marie’s parents, Rocco and Carmela, and for all of her friends and family,” Dzerowicz said.
Meanwhile, the grandson of Dorothy Sewell confirmed on Facebook that she was one 10 people killed in the attack.
Elwood Delaney of Kamloops, B.C., described his grandmother as an avid sports fan who “almost had as much love for the Blue Jays and Leafs as she did for her family.”
“(She was) the best grandmother anyone could have asked for,” Delaney told The Canadian Press.
Seneca College said a female student was also among those killed, but didn’t provide further details.
“She was, along with nine others, an innocent victim of this tragic act of violence,” college president David Agnew said in a statement. “I want to extend our deepest sympathies to her family and friends.”
Another victim of the van attack was identified by Jordan’s state-run Petra news agency as Munair Najjar, who was in Toronto visiting family.
The Jordanian embassy in Ottawa confirmed one of its citizens had died but did not provide further details. The news agency said the embassy was helping arrange for Najjar’s body to sent back to Jordan.
A South Korean news agency cited government officials as saying two Korean nationals were also among those killed.
Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press