Tale of Two Guns Ends Safely

By Sara Faruqi, Toronto Police Service Published: 4:37 p.m. March 23, 2016
Updated: 8:29 p.m. March 24, 2016

Two handguns were taken off the streets after allegedly being used in a drive-by shooting and robbery.

A black car with bullet holes in the driver's side
The vehicle targeted in a drive-by shooting at St. Clair W. and Laughton Ave.

The firearms were seized by 11 Division officers this week, in a search warrant and after an intervention by a heroic bystander.

On Saturday March 19, there was a drive-by daylight shooting near St. Clair Ave. W. and Laughton Avenue, where both the victim and the suspect fled.

“Both vehicles were travelling eastbound, with the victim vehicle close to the curb, indicating a right turn, when the suspect vehicle approached the victim’s vehicle, rolled down the window and six shots were fired at the driver’s side door,” said 11 Division Field Intelligence Officer Constable Joao Duarte.

Witnesses managed to get the licence plate of the victim’s vehicle, which turned out to be a rental car. Through some investigative work, police were able to track down the driver of the vehicle, who did not want to cooperate in the investigation.

Police then managed to get video footage of the suspect vehicle and obtained a search warrant to search a man’s home three days later. Police allegedly found a handgun in the home.

John Filian-Jimenez, 25, of Mississauga, is charged with attempted murder and numerous firearm possession offences.

A handgun on a table beside a ruler
A handgun seized during a search warrant in connection with a drive-by shooting

In the second incident, the actions of a heroic citizen led officers to seize another handgun.

It was 2 a.m. on Tuesday morning, when police responded to a call by a taxi driver about a struggle between four people near Lansdowne Ave. and Bloor St. W. The first officers on scene had been only a block away and arrived quickly.

“It was an attempted robbery where a man tried to rob two civilians who were in their car having a cigarette,” alleged Duarte.

Justin Robitaille, had been playing with his band at a nearby pub when he stepped out to walk his date to her car when they noticed the man with a gun.

Robitaille, who was in the military for three years, saw the man move his gun up. His training kicked in and he saw an opportunity to apprehend the gun-wielding man from behind before things could get violent. He managed to approach the man and take control of his arm.

“I think my training kicked in and helped keep me calm,” he said, of his military background.

At this point Robitaille noticed friends who had come to see him play were in the car and they managed to wrestle the man to the ground. Police officers arrived shortly after to bring the man into custody.

“It feels good that nobody got hurt,” said Robitaille.

He acknowledged that in retrospect he might have caused a bigger risk to everyone involved to intervene, however his military training helped him a long way in assessing and containing the situation.

“The suspect was allegedly found with a loaded firearm, with six bullets in the magazine and one in the chamber,” said Duarte. “A good civilian put his life in danger to take a firearm off the street.”

A handgun on a table beside a ruler
A handgun allegedly used in a robbery at Bloor St. W. and Lansdowne Ave.

Liban Douale, 29, of Toronto, is charged with robbery, threatening death, numerous firearm charges and fail to comply with recognizance.

“These two incidents clearly resonate with the risks and challenges that our officers face each day out on the street, but it also resonates with the continuing need for community support and partnerships in resolving these types of crimes,” said 11 Division’s Unit Commander Heinz Kuck.

The Superintendent said he was extremely proud of his officers and the community member who risked his life in controlling and containing a volatile situation.

“They dealt with life-threatening situations professionally, relied on their training and instinct, and used investigative finesse to bring about successful conclusions, involving weapons seizures, arrest and charges,” said Kuck.

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