Man shot in Little Italy was well-known in area
The man who was shot and killed at the Sicilian Sidewalk Cafe in Toronto's Little Italy was identified Tuesday as a fixture in the neighbourhood, but also someone who was well-known to police.
Police were called to the popular cafe on College Street West near Ossington Avenue Monday afternoon, after multiple gunshots were fired on a crowded patio where patrons had gathered to watch Italy play Ireland in a Euro Cup soccer match.
Two people were shot, one fatally, in what police are calling a targeted attack.
The 35-year-old man killed was identified by police Tuesday afternoon as John Raposo.
Even before police officially identified the victim, neighbourhood residents were talking about Raposo, who was nicknamed "Little John" or "BMW Johnny."
Raposo died at the scene and his body was removed from the café late Monday evening, after a man dressed as a construction worker fired as many as five bullets into the crowd.
A post-mortem examination concluded that Raposo’s death was caused by a gunshot wound to the head, police said Tuesday.
As police continued their investigation, neighbors remembered Raposo as a friendly man with a 17-month-old son and another child on the way.
He lived just off College Street, in a semi-detached home, with his mother.
"He was a guy who said hi to everybody," said neighbour Roberta Menga. "He was happy all the time. I've never seen him drunk, or on drugs."
Raposo was also very well connected, said community members -- something police confirmed.
He had invested in many different businesses, including tow-trucks, construction, and, according to police allegations, organized crime.
Sources said Raposo was friends with Eddie Mello, a boxer who had a reputation as a mob enforcer before he was executed outside a Mississauga sports bar in 2001.
Police sources also said they knew Raposo as a similar enforcer, a man who collected for Italian organized crime, and may have played a role in a recent cocaine deal that went bad.
Police are looking into whether Raposo's murder was a targeted kill, or was someone looking to settle a beef against the well-known man.
As of Tuesday afternoon, police said they were making strides in the case, but had yet to make any arrests.
The suspect in the shooting was described as a white male with blonde shoulder-length hair and a medium build. Police said the suspect was last seen wearing a white hard hat, orange safety vest featuring a florescent green "X" on the front and back and wearing a white filter mask on his face.
The suspect ran north from the scene, and Toronto police said he may have dropped evidence linked to the attack.
Residents of the College Street and Montrose Avenue area were asked to search their property for any items that may have been discarded. If any items are located, police asked residents to not touch them and to call police immediately.
Police also asked store owners in the area who have closed-circuit television cameras to call police, as it may be useful in their investigation.
The public shooting – just weeks after a similar but unrelated public shooting at the Eaton Centre – had people on edge on Tuesday.
"This is some thing that is very strange and rare for our neighbourhood. It is unfortunate that the city has become a battleground for people who are settling scores," said Lenny Lombardi, the chair of the Little Italy BIA.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Det. Sgt Terry Browne at 416-808-7403 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).
With files from CTV Toronto's Tamara Cherry and Michelle Dube