Arrests Made as Chief Seeking Solutions to Gun Violence

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 12:23 p.m. August 9, 2019

Several arrests have been made and firearms have been retrieved in the wake of a spate of shootings in the city in the past week, the majority of which police believe are street-gang related.

A man in TPS uniform at a podium
Chief Mark Saunders speaks to media regarding recent gun violence on August 9, 2019

On August 5, officers responded to calls for gunshots at 18 Yorkville Ave. An arrest was made and police believe that individual, who was charged with failing to comply, belongs to a street gang.

That same day at around 4.16 a.m., police were called to the area of Church & Adelaide Sts. where they found two victims with gunshot wounds.

At a news conference at police headquarters on August 9, Chief Mark Saunders said there’s evidence that they were hit in an exchange of gunfire. A firearm was recovered at the scene.

“Through the hard work of 55 Division, the Major Crime Unit and the Criminal Investigation Bureau, we were able to arrest three people and are looking for one other person,” said Saunders. “An arrest warrant will soon be issued for that outstanding suspect and the information we have is that these persons are involved in street gangs.”

On August 4, a firearm was recovered and an arrest made after police responded to robbery call at 27 Bridlepath.

Saunders said an arrest was made and a firearm was recovered

“Two suspects are still outstanding and this investigation is ongoing,” he pointed out.

The Chief said he’s optimistic about some of the other ongoing investigations.

“We will definitely be making more arrests,” he said. “Our Gun & Gang Task Force and our Intelligence Services continue to place a high priority on all of these investigations and we are also actively working to be present in the areas that are currently at risk. I know that people are concerned and I completely understand that. I do want to underline that this recent gun activity and these shootings in the past 10 days, by and large, are street-gang related.

“It doesn’t mean, at times, that innocent people are not impacted. I have attended town hall meetings recently and listened to some of the issues and concerns. We definitely are going to be working with our communities and stakeholders to make sure we do everything we can with our role when it comes to gun violence and street gangs.”

Saunders said that 326 people charged with firearm offences are out on bail.

“What we are hoping to do is to establish a stronger relationship with our Courts to let them know the impact that these types of offences are having within our communities,” Chief Saunders said. “(Police) can’t do it alone, it has to be a collective approach from many different angles.”

The Chief said that police making arrests in these cases is only one facet of solving gun violence and all levels of government have committed to working with to prevent gun violence.

So far this year, there have been 35 homicides compared with 59 for the same time last year.

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