A 29-year-old man shot dead Wednesday, December 12, 2018, in Etobicoke, Ontario, has been identified as Toronto’s record high 93rd murder victim of the year. He is known to area wrestling fans as Johnny Gayle, announcer at Superkick’d Pro Wrestling and as an occasional guest on the Aftermath TV show.
“It’s with a heavy heart that we must share that our great friend Johnny Gayle has passed away. Words can not express how much you mean to us and everyone that has ever had the privilege of being in your presence,” posted Superkick’d on its Facebook page.
Ashley Sixx, one of the men behind Superkick’d, posted his thoughts: “Just got the unfortunate news about Johnny Gayle’s passing. Johnny was one of the most fun people to be around, his hilarious over the top commentary had me on the floor laughing uncontrollably every time. He would get so excited that he would literally transform into attitude era Jim Ross and we would all have to hit our mute buttons as to not hear us bursting out in laughter.”
Former WWE referee Jimmy Korderas, a regular on the Aftermath show on Sportsnet 360, posted his thoughts to Twitter: “His smile was infectious and was truly one of the nicest, kindest people I have ever met. Gutted! Sincerest condolences to your family my friend.”
The Oshawa resident the ninth man gunned down inside a vehicle in the city so far in 2018.
Toronto Police say officers responded to Islington Ave. and St. Andrews Blvd. — near Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School just north of Dixon Rd. — around 6 p.m. after a car hopped the curb and smashed into a tree.
“Officers located a man in the car who appeared to be suffering from gunshot wounds,” Homicide Det.-Sgt. Terry Browne said Thursday.
The veteran investigator said the shooting victim, who was driving a blue two-door 2008 Honda Civic, “succumbed to his injuries” and was pronounced dead on scene.
The dead man was identified as Jonathan Gayle-West, who had worked behind the scenes at both TSN and Sportsnet.
Co-workers and sportscasters alike took to the airwaves and social media on Thursday to pay tribute Gayle-West, calling him a kind, friendly and genuine person.
The official TSN Twitter account wrote, “We are saddened by the tragic death of a TSN team member last night – Jon Gayle. Jon worked with Jay & Dan, BarDown, TSN 1050 and in the newsroom. Jon was very well-liked by those who worked with him. He will be missed. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones.”
Sportnet anchor Ken Reid worked with Gayle. “A tough day for the @Sportsnet family. We lost our old friend Johnny Gayle aka Johnny G. Every time I saw him I was met with a smile and a ‘Hey Reidsy!’ He loved working in tv. Did an outstanding Dwane Casey impression, loved being on the tube talkin wrasslin'”
Likewise, wrestlers shared their recollections. Veteran Toronto-based grappler Tarik (Tariq Ghani), wrote, “Rest in peace my friend. Many great times over the years. Every month we talked old school hip hop and wrestling. Going to miss you man.”
Of the 93 killings in Toronto so far in 2018 – the most homicides the city has ever endured – nine of the victims have been shot in vehicles, including one double murder and one victim who was shot then dumped from an SUV.
— with files from Chris Doucette, Toronto Sun