Teamwork and quick thinking by 13 Division officers helped catch three people allegedly involved in a violent attempted robbery near Eglinton Avenue West and Oakwood Avenue on Jan. 15.
First On Scene
Constables Abuturab Mansuri and partner Adrian Diaconu were making their way to a domestic call when they were told by a Communications Dispatcher to divert to a robbery in progress.
“We were not very far from the call,” says Mansuri, estimating they arrived in less than two minutes at the location. “The only description we had was that it was a West Indian grocery store and some males had jumped the counter and one was wearing a blue hoodie.” They also only had the intersection of where the crime was occurring but not the address.
While Diaconu drove, Mansuri kept an eye out, looking for the grocery store and description of the men, “I saw two males on the south side of Eglinton Avenue in a scuffle on the ground,” says Mansuri. He was the first to run towards the men, when he noticed a third man in a blue hoodie watching the two men fight.
“All three men were black in their mid-20’s,” says Mansuri, adding that was the only description given by a complainant. He had no idea who the victim was and who were the alleged robbers.
As Mansuri and Diaconu approached the man, who was pinning another man to the ground, he got up and moved back. As he did, Mansuri caught a glimpse of something metallic being held by the man on the ground. “It had a long barrel, like a revolver,” says Mansuri. Unbeknownst to the two constables, two shots had already been fired from that gun during the scuffle between the three men.
“The man (on the ground) had the gun in his right hand, with the muzzle pointing down,” says Mansuri, who immediately withdrew his gun and told the man to throw his gun and stay on the ground.
Diaconu quickly cuffed the man on the ground and Mansuri cuffed the man who had been fighting with the man on the ground. While he was cuffing the second man, Mansuri kept his eyes on the third person and kept telling him to get on the ground.
“At this point, I had no clue who was the suspect or victim. I only knew there was a robbery in progress. I was outnumbered three to two and, after seeing the gun, I didn’t know if there were more weapons involved,” explains Mansuri, on his decision to cuff all three individuals. All this was happening quickly and Mansuri had to make sure everyone was safe before assessing what had occurred.
“At that point, my biggest threat was the third guy standing next to me,” says Mansuri, who kept calmly telling the man to get on the ground. “He wasn’t complying at first,” but he finally conceded and lay on the ground. Mansuri kept him pinned to the ground as back-up arrived
Constables Jeff Dymond and Vladim Iancu arrived at the scene as Mansuri was sitting on top of the third person. Mansuri yelled at Dymond to throw him his handcuffs and then to deal with the gun, which was still on the sidewalk. It had been perhaps five minutes since the officers had arrived on scene, but a crowd had started to form around them.
“The complainant was still on the phone with dispatch,” said Mansuri, who says he was too busy to update dispatch as the two officers were initially outnumbered on scene. He could hear the Communications dispatcher over the radio update officers that one of the men detained was the victim according to the complainant who was watching from across the street. “But I didn’t know which one.” He added that, in such instances, one person can only deal with one other person, and seeing the lights and hearing the sirens of back-up arriving was the best feeling he had that day.
As Constable Dymond secured the gun, he and his partner, Iancu, took hold of the man on the ground who had the gun. Mansuri noticed this man was bleeding from the side of his face and called for an ambulance.
At this time Dymond and Iancu lifted the man off the ground. As they did this, his shirt lifted up and they saw a long-bladed knife in his waistband, which they also seized.
Constable Iancu took the individual away as officers waited for other enforcement to arrive. According to Iancu while he was taking the man into the scout car, the man told him he was the victim. “In violent crimes, we often hear this,” said Iancu, who said he decided not to release him till he knew the man’s involvement, considering the man had been found with a gun in his hand and a knife in his waistband. “I was still a little suspicious.”
As he put the man into the back of the police cruiser, a woman approached Iancu with a phone in her hand. She was the complainant who had called 9-1-1 and had been in the store during the attempted robbery. She had also stayed on the phone with dispatch as the officers had arrived on scene, giving updates. She told Iancu that the man in his car was the victim. Having spoken to the man already, Iancu had also decided the man was the victim.
“In the heat of the moment, you have to make a decision,” says Iancu, of having to cuff the individual in the first place. He said the man was very respectful and compliant. Iancu took him to the hospital where he was able to get the man’s story as well as meet his family.
While Constable Iancu was speaking to the victim in the police car, Mansuri still had the third person, in the blue hoodie, cuffed and a large crowd around him. “A woman, maybe in her mid-20s kept approaching me,” says Mansuri. “It was cold and she had her hands in her pocket, I told her to step back but she kept approaching me, ‘I said ma’am please take a step back.”
But the woman wouldn’t listen. She kept saying she knew one of the men who was cuffed. At this time two more officers had arrived on scene: Community Response Constables Martin Warnock and Kyle Richards.
Mansuri directed Warnock to the woman.
“I could see they had recovered a firearm,” says Warnock, by the time he arrived on scene. When Mansuri told him to speak to the agitated woman who kept approaching him, Warnock took her to the side. “She didn’t want to speak to me much, but she said she wanted to get her purse from the car.”
Warnock took her to the car, which turned out to be a taxi, parked about 200 metres away on a side street. As the woman was getting her purse, Warnock spoke to the cab driver, since he still wasn’t sure who the woman was.
The cab driver told her he was waiting in the cab with the woman and about 10 minutes earlier two men had gotten out of the cab.
“I know a clue when I hear one,” says Warnock, who understood immediately that the woman was an accomplice of the two men who had tried to rob the store. She was arrested by Warnock on the spot.
As the officers on scene, each played a part in piecing together the crime.
Two men and a woman arrived in a taxi close to the West Indian grocery store. They told the cab driver to wait at a side street as the two men got out of the car. The woman stayed in the taxi.
The two men are alleged to have entered the grocery store and demanded money. The store clerk resisted, at which point the men jumped the counter and began fighting with the clerk. One suspect took out a revolver and a scuffle broke out. The victim tussled with the suspects and managed to grab a hold of the revolver.
A woman, the complainant, was in the store at the time, witnessed the crime, ran out and called 9-1-1.
As the suspects and victim fought over the gun, two shots were fired. The victim managed to run out of the store, chased by the suspects. One suspect managed to catch the victim and pulled him down on the sidewalk, trying to get the gun back.
This was when Constables Mansuri and Dianconu arrived on scene and, amidst the chaos, managed to control all three men.
“It was a very good call from the complainant,” says Mansuri, grateful she was watching to make sure officers knew who the victim was, as well as updating the dispatch operator on the phone. “Lots of credit to her and all the information she gave.”
When fluid and dangerous situations develop, we should show restraint and be aware of our surroundings and treat everyone with respect
Mansuri also acknowledged his partner, Diaconu, who has only been with the Service for three months. “He didn’t know the area and I had to guide him. He was fast and accurate,” says Mansuri ,on their arrival time at the scene.
As for the victim, all officers agreed he had managed to delay the suspects from getting away, leading to their quick arrest.
“I was very impressed on how he handled himself and fended off the attackers,” says Iancu, who does not recommend victims of crime take such action. “The only reason the perpetrators remained on scene is because the victim had the revolver in his hand. They wanted it back.”
“At the hospital, I expressed my gratitude to him and apologized for not believing him,” adds Iancu.
“My role was minimal. The other officers on scene had much more difficult jobs… I couldn’t be prouder to serve alongside such individuals,” says Iancu.
“When fluid and dangerous situations develop, we should show restraint and be aware of our surroundings and treat everyone with respect,” sums up Iancu, on what had occurred and how well it was handled by all the officers involved.
“It was really good teamwork, right across the board. It really went well,” agrees Constable Warnock.
Ammaan Charley, 22, of Toronto, a 15-year-old boy are charged with firearm and robbery charges. Rashida Beckett, of no fixed address, is charged with firearms offences.