Pickering Casino shooting victim Michael Ferdinand remembered as ‘a bright light and electric soul’

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Published October 13, 2023 at 11:04 am

Michael Ferdinand Pickering shooting victim
Michael Ferdinand, 34, was killed while on duty as a guard at the Pickering Casino Resort. via GoFundMe.

The man shot dead in the Pickering Casino Resort is being remembered as a “bright light and electric soul” by his fellow security guards in a fundraiser they set up for his family.

Michael Ferdinand, 34, was gunned down at work after a group was turned away from the casino around 5 a.m. on Oct. 9. The group returned and opened fire into the casino striking Ferdinand. They fled by the time police arrived to find Ferdinand injured. Paramedics rushed him to a Toronto trauma centre where he succumbed to his wounds. Ferdinand’s attackers remain unidentified and at large.

In the wake of Ferdinand’s death his Pickering Casino “work family” put together a fundraiser to aid his wife, Mara, and family. Fellow casino guard Viny Cuellar started the GoFundMe which has now reached more than $22,500 of it’s $40,000 goal.

The fundraiser aims “to help the process of healing and ease a little bit of pressure off of his wife Mara and family and so that we may do the very least in supporting our brother,” Cuellar wrote, “Mike was such a bright light and electric soul to everyone’s life he came across. You really didn’t have to know Mike very well to feel his love and genuine personality radiate from within him.”

“Mike made each and every one of us feel seen and heard. He was constantly checking in on every individual he encountered in his daily life and made each and every one of us feel so, so special,” he continued, “On people’s bad days, he never failed to make you escape whatever it was you were going through, even be it for the few minute conversation you would be having with him. Giving you no choice but to give into his infectious love, personality and bright soul.”

Cuellar also called Ferdinand, “one of, if not the, bravest person myself or many of my coworkers have ever come across. Mike never hesitated to stand up for any one of us and always ensured that we were treated with respect and dignity.”

“Mike was always the first one to step up and support us with incidents and altercations that occurred in our day-to-day work shift. This is cherished by us greatly and he will always be admired for his bravery along with so many other beautiful attributes that made our brother a hero.”

On Ferdinand’s death, Cuellar said, “Our brother was taken from us from way too soon by a senseless act of gun violence that had no reason to ever be escalated to that extent. Mike was simply doing his job and ensuring the protection and security of his team and everyone else’s lives who were in the casino.”

Cuellar additionally called for support from Ferdinand’s employers the Great Canadian Gambling Corporation and the Pickering Casino Resort, “to take care of any costs, bills and funeral arrangements the family may have to bear, so we know that they stand with us during this extremely dark time.” However, Cuellar has not heard anything to that effect from the company.

Some donators left comments remembering Ferdinand as well. Taylor Rispolie said “I got the honour to work with Mike for a bit and he was truly one of a kind. So positive and would go out of his way to make sure you’re okay. Thank you for being a hero.”

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