TORONTO - His name was Kyrie.
For 21 days, he was Toronto’s little miracle.
Born four months premature on May 15 by C-section after his mother, Rochelle Bobb, 33, was fatally shot in the back of a car in Jamestown, he battled until the end came Sunday night.
“He really was such a little fighter,” said Rochelle’s sister, Monique Bobb, 35. “He was pretty feisty. He just wouldn’t give up but eventually his little body just gave out.”
He had so much going against him.
“There was just not enough air in her lungs when he was in the womb after she was shot,” said a strong but tearful Monique. “He had brain damage because of it, a lung infection and there was a problem with a valve in his heart.”
Yet the little guy, believed to be Toronto’s tiniest ever crime victim, just kept on trying to survive. Borrowing from Greek mythology, they gave him the name Kyrie, which Monique says means “lord or master or a son of God.”
They were trying to give him every edge the cruel world and city did not.
And he was responding.
“It was amazing because he was just 26 weeks in her womb,” she said. “He would often be kicking his legs and moving around. He was trying to live.”
Despite the machines and tubes he was hooked up to, she said, he was a beautiful boy that came to them out of a horrible tragedy.
“We were there every day and every night,” Monique said of her four other siblings; her mom, Jacqueline; father, Pastor Tyrone Bobb; Rochelle’s two older boys, nicknamed Keke, 16, and Congress, 12; and the infant boy’s father.
“It gave us something to focus on,” said Monique. “It gave us something to help cope and to offer hope.”
But last Sunday, doctors at the “incredible” Sunnybrook Hospital said the family “would likely be losing him that day.”
No amount of praying could fix this. No amount of modern medicine either.
“The baby died on his father’s chest,” said Monique. “It was so sad for all of us and for him since he really wanted to be a father.”
Sitting in the front of the car at the time of the shooting, he lost his partner and child.
“They tried everything they could to save the baby,” said Monique. “We are so grateful to both the Etobicoke General Hospital, who were able to deliver Kyrie, and to Sunnybrook. We are hoping you can find room in this article to thank them so much. We also want to thank the Toronto Police Service for all of their support. They have been tremendous.”
Once the baby died, some of the focus returned to the horrors of the original shooting and the “pain” it caused.
“It was senseless and it had nothing to do with any of them,” said Monique. “It was just a normal Sunday night where they were dropping off a friend after a basketball game.”
It was so routine that Rochelle’s older kids can hear her final words to them as she went out the door.
“I will be right back,” Monique said she told them.
Now they are suffering. A special trust fund has been set up to help with funeral costs and to assist raising the now motherless boys.
Donations can be made at any CIBC branch. The account number is 59-589-89. The transit number is 02622.
“It’s just devastating,” Monique said. “The boys deserved to have their mother.”
Instead, they lost their mom and their baby brother and are filled with grief and anger.
“I know they don’t like to hear in the news any suggestion their mom was involved with a gang because she was not,” said Monique. “She was a good woman who taught her kids well. She was excited about having her baby and she had great plans for the future.”
She said her older children are “having a tough time that she is gone because they always said she was invincible.”
Monique said all her siblings and their children grew up anti-gang and anti-drugs.
“My mom is a nurse and my dad is a pastor,” she said. “My father was the one who would lead the anti-gang and anti-gun marches. So for this to happen to our family is very upsetting.”
Monique is of the mindset that when they do catch Rochelle’s killer, he or she should be charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
“Definitely,” she said. “There were two lives lost.”
And those two, mother and son, will be buried in the same plot in Brampton.
“His casket will be placed just above hers,” said Monique. “Right now the funeral is being planned for Saturday but the family is hoping for it to be private. This has been a short amount of time but it has been the longest nightmare.”
Just like at Rochelle’s funeral last month — and at the hospital Sunday — the whole family will be present.
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