In light of the 11 homicides that occurred in the city in the month of October, Toronto Police Chief James Ramer has assured the public that investigators are making headway in finding those responsible for the heinous crimes and bringing them to justice.
So far, six suspects have been arrested and charged.
“Although we have seen a 17 per cent reduction in the number of shootings this year, we know those numbers do not reflect the impact any shooting incident has on loved ones and the communities in which they happen,” said Chief Ramer, at a media conference at police headquarters on November 5.
“We have listened to our community partners who have expressed concern over the recent spate of violence in their neighbourhoods and we want to assure them and the city of Toronto that we are doing what we can to find those responsible and build a sense of safety and well-being for those most impacted. We have made a number of very quick arrests in most of our homicide investigations this past month and we are asking for the public’s help in finding those who are still outstanding.”
Ramer thanked community members who have assisted police with investigations and community partners who have offered advice and support.
“I also want to thank our investigators and our frontline members who continue to go above and beyond when the community needs them the most,” he added.
Deputy Chief Myron Demkiw acknowledged the traumatic impact the shooting crimes have had on families and communities and the lasting impact on officers and other first responders.
“I can assure the public that our Homicide Squad and Gun & Gang Task Force investigators have been working long hours with the committed support of officers from other investigative units and the frontline to bring some sense of closure to families, arrest those responsible and build cases that will secure convictions in court,” he said. “In fact, we have already achieved meaningful outcomes.”
In partnership with the community, Demkiw said the Service has been working vigorously to provide a coordinated and effective response to shootings.
“As part of these efforts, the Service has taken a distinctive and strong investigative stance on shootings, including the introduction of our Centralized Shooting Response Teams (CSRT) resulting in more of these investigations being solved,” he said.
Comprising eight investigative teams, the CSRT attend and investigate all firearm discharge incidents, including shots fired in the air, events that result in damage to property and incidents where persons are shot at and missed or struck by a projectile.
CSRT members work rotational shifts, providing coverage throughout the city 24/7.
Demkiw said they work in a coordinated way with various units, including the Homicide Squad.
“This focused and centralized response to shooting investigations have, in part, contributed to the 17 per cent reduction in our total shootings this year to date and we are cautiously optimistic that we may see a 20 per cent reduction in shootings for the end of this year,” noted Demkiw. “While our investigate response is key, we are also proactively deploying resources to communities most affected, providing a visible policing presence, reassurance and building relationships with residents.
“But we need the public’s help. Today, we are requesting assistance in identifying people wanted in different shooting incidents, including homicides. They are all considered armed and dangerous and finding them is our top priority.”
Investigators have resolved seven of the 11 homicide cases, meaning that they either know who the suspect is and are actively seeking them or they have made arrests and charges have been laid.
- On October 13, a 43-year-old man was gunned down in front of the Boston Pizza on Cinemart Dr. in Scarborough. A Canada-wide warrant has been issued for 22-year-old Abilaziz Mohamed, 22, who is wanted for First-Degree murder.
- On October 15, Randy Nguyen was fatally shot outside the Leng Keng Bar & Lounge. Suspects are outstanding in this case and police are continuing their investigation into the identity and location of those responsible.
- On October 21, Nikie Timm, 37, succumbed to gunshot wounds.
- David Benjamin and Leary Hibbert, both 41 years old and Toronto residents, have each been charged with First-Degree murder and Attempt to Commit Murder.
- A suspect is outstanding and police are continuing their investigation into the identity and location of the person(s) responsible for the shooting death of Kamal Daley at Yorkwoods Plaza on October 23.
- On October 29, Prince Cameron was arrested and charged with the October 23 murder of 36-year old Leroy ‘Smokey’ Marson.
- A suspect(s) is outstanding in the shooting death of Mathia Youkhanno on October 23 at a Weston Rd. plaza.
- A 17-year-old youth is wanted for the murder of a taxi driver who was shot and killed in Scarborough on October 25.
- On October 28, Jamal James succumbed to his injuries after being shot in the Malvern area. Suspects are outstanding in this case and police are continuing to investigate the identity and location of the people responsible for James’ death.
- On November 2, a 41-year-old man was arrested and charged with the October 29 murder of Douglas Devlin in the area of Ellesmere & Kennedy Rds. in Scarborough.
- Antonio Galloro, 43, faces Second-Degree murder charges in connection with his mom who was stabbed to death at their North York home.
Idsinga said police don’t have evidence to suggest that any of these incidents are connected despite them happening within days and even hours of each other.
“We have some of the best investigators in the country working on these investigations doing tremendous work day in and day out,” he added. “There’s no doubt they will continue to investigate these cases throughout, with the victims and their families at the forefront of their minds. We would ask that anyone who has any information, no matter how small, about any of these cases to please come forward and speak with police or Crime Stoppers at 222tips.com or 416-222-8477 (TIPS).
Of the 74 homicides in the city, there has been a clearance rate of 73% so far.
Police are also looking for two Young Offenders as part of a shooting investigation on October 8 on Gulliver Rd. in 12 Division.
Four individuals pulled handguns and discharged multiple rounds during a fight, hitting a teenager who sustained non-life threatening injuries.
Investigators have arrested one man and a young male.
Police are encouraging the outstanding two Young Offenders to seek counsel and turn themselves in to the nearest police station.