A Black general contractor. Co-founder of Out of the Box Construction. A mentor. An advocate for the community benefits and labour movements.
That is how Kwadwo Asamoah (Samuel) Boakye is being remembered by the construction community following his untimely death. The 30-year-old father of two young children was shot and killed in Toronto Sept. 7.
“Samuel’s death is a real tragedy for not just his family, but for our community and our movement,” Rosemarie Powell, executive director of the Toronto Community Benefits Network (TCBN), wrote in an email to the Daily Commercial News.
“He’s one of the co-founders of Out of the Box Social Enterprise where he supported numerous Black youth to build skills in construction. He was one of our first group of mentors and leaders in NexGen Builders. He just started his unionized construction business and was a member of the Carpenters’ Union Local 27. He has a young family, his newborn is under one year old. Such an incredible loss. These senseless killings need to stop as it’s draining the life out of our communities.”
Well known in the Jane and Finch community, Boakye was a contractor and co-founder of Out of the Box Construction, a company providing construction services and training for people from underrepresented communities.
“The loss of Samuel Boakye to our network is immeasurable,” reads a TCBN LinkedIn post. “Finding mentors for apprentices from historically underrepresented communities in the unionized trades has been an ongoing challenge for the network. As a mentor, Samuel shone brightly in this work, always willing to lend a hand. Samuel participated gladly, helping us with outreach and recruitment, and anything else we needed from a mentor in the program.
“We will never replace Samuel. His death is a stark reminder that we have a long way to go in reaching equity in the skilled trades.”
On Sept. 7 at 8:58 p.m., Toronto police responded to a call following a shooting in the Driftwood Avenue and Grandravine Drive area of Toronto after multiple gunshots were heard. Police located Boakye who had suffered multiple gunshot wounds. Despite lifesaving measures by officers and medics, Boakye succumbed to his injuries at the scene.
Investigators are asking any witnesses, anyone driving in the area that may have captured the shooting on their dash cameras, and anyone with information to contact police at 416-808-7400 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), or online at www.222tips.com.
This is the second shooting death of a construction worker this month. On Sept. 3, Floreano Lopes was shot and killed after intervening in altercation with an alleged carjacker who crashed a pickup truck near a road paving construction site.