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29-year-old sentenced to life in prison for fatally shooting man outside Scarborough Town Centre

Police are investigating after a man was shot outside Scarborough Town Centre. (CP24/Beatrice Vaisman) Police are investigating after a man was shot outside Scarborough Town Centre. (CP24/Beatrice Vaisman)
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Twenty-nine-year-old Toronto resident Shaquille Small has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 14 years for fatally shooting a man he did not know outside the Scarborough Town Centre more than three years ago.

At the conclusion of his jury trial last month, Small was found guilty of second-degree murder for the deadly shooting, which occurred outside the mall, located near Ellesmere and McCowan roads, on July 10, 2020.

The victim, 26-year-old Jordan Marcelle, was walking with another man, Ad-Ham Khamis, near the entrance of the shopping centre at around 2 p.m. when the gunfire rang out.

A court previously heard that Small was sitting in the back seat of a vehicle being driven by his girlfriend when the car approached a stop sign in the parking area of the mall. Small lowered the window and began firing in the direction of the two men, who were approximately 35 metres away.

While Khamis was not hit, Marcelle was struck in the abdomen. The two men ran into the mall for cover and the vehicle Small was travelling in sped away from the scene.

Khamis fled prior to the arrival of emergency crews as he was armed, Superior Court Justice Andras Schreck, who oversaw the trial, said. Marcelle was taken to the hospital and underwent surgery, but died from his injuries two days later.

In his reasons for sentencing, released Monday, Schreck said that while the gunman did not known Marcelle, he did have a history with Khamis. In 2011, Khamis was charged with three counts of attempted murder in connection with a shooting that wounded three of Small’s friends. That case did not make it past the preliminary hearing.

Schreck said that the Crown’s theory presented at trial was that Small decided to extract some “street justice” after spotting Khamis at the mall that afternoon.

During the trial, Small, who was initially charged with first-degree murder, admitted that he was the one responsible for firing the bullet that killed Marcelle. He maintained that it was not his intention to harm or kill anyone when he fired at Khamis, who he believed to be a member of the Galloway Boys street gang. He claimed to have discharged the firearm in a panic because he suspected Khamis had seen him and was going to harm him.

Schreck called the incident “a brazen shooting in a public place for which there can be no justification.”

“Handguns have but one purpose, which is to kill or seriously injure human beings,” the judge wrote.

“They allow those who possess them to terminate the existence of another person on a whim and in a matter of seconds, permanently erasing that person’s hopes and dreams and leaving his or her family and friends to suffer a lifetime of sorrow and heartbreak.”

He added that in victim impact statements submitted to the court, Marcelle’s sisters, brother and cousin described the victim as “a wonderful human being,” whose “heart was as big as he was.”

“Mr. Marcelle’s family and friends have suffered greatly as a result of Mr. Small’s actions and will continue to do so. No sentence I impose can return Mr. Marcelle to them or heal the wounds left by his loss,” Schreck wrote.

He noted the extent to which the individuals involved have been impacted by gun violence.

“In his victim impact statement, Mr. Marcelle’s brother mentions that his father had also died as a result of being shot. At the time Mr. Marcelle was shot, he was in the company of Mr. Khamis, who was armed with a gun,” Schreck said.

“Mr. Small, the person who shot Mr. Marcelle, was also armed with a gun. Mr. Small had himself been shot at the Toronto Raptors victory celebration a few years earlier.”

He added that while the courts have “reiterated the need to impose ‘exemplary sentences’ to deter gun-related crimes, given the “continued prevalence of the problem,” it is evident that the criminal justice system cannot “eradicate the problem by itself.”

“Additional steps need to be taken to identify and remedy the social conditions that result in young men like Mr. Small and Mr. Khamis arming themselves with deadly weapons. Until they are, sentencing judges can do no more than take reactive steps,” Schreck said.

“But any such step is taken too late for Mr. Marcelle. At best, I can hope that the sentence imposed today will denounce the conduct that led to his death and in some way perhaps deter another person from committing a similar crime.”

In addition to the life sentence for second-degree murder, Small was handed a 12-year sentence for the attempted murder of Khamis, an eight-year sentence for unauthorized possession of a loaded prohibited firearm, and two one-year sentences for possession of a firearm in violation of a prohibition order. The sentences, Shreck said, are to be served.

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