By Raf Brusilow
Shaking slightly at times and growing more emotional as he spoke, 29-year-old Michael Christoff had difficulty finishing his sentences as he talked for the first time about his slain brother, former Ryerson student Alexander Christoff.
Toronto police found his lifeless body, riddled with stab wounds last Friday. In a booth at Gabby’s Roadhouse near the Christoff’s family home, Michael described his younger sibling as a sharp dresser, a talented amateur cook and an outgoing ladies’ man who made friends easily.
“He was an extremely popular guy–people would meet him and just want to be friends with him,” Michael said. “He was so quick-witted and charismatic. We’d be at someone’s house and he’d just crack a joke and the whole room would be laughing.”
While Michael lives with his parents near Ranleigh Avenue and Yonge Street, Alex had his own apartment and kept a barbecue outside on the deck.
“He loved to grill things, and he made his own marinades, tomato sauces and salad dressings,” Michael said. Alex enjoyed nice clothes, and Michael says Alex’s girlfriend of four years, Tonya, often went shopping for new threads with Alex.
Tonya and Alex broke up about 3 months ago, but Michael says “they were still very close.” Micheal refused to speak about any details of Alex’s case, especially a report told to the Toronto Sun alleging Alex had a history of dealing drugs.
“I don’t know where the line is between what I can say and can’t say. Police told me they don’t want the case to be thrown out on a technicality. The thing is you say something like (no comment about drug dealing) and people just assume the worst,” Michael said.
For Alex’s father, Boris, the timing is still too soon and his thoughts still too painful to speak about his son’s death. “We’re all still in mourning. It’s not a good time for me at all–I’m not giving any interviews,” he said.
For Michael, speaking out now is both a catharsis and a chance to start to set the record straight. “I want any information about Alex to be real,” Michael said.