Toronto Police say a suspect they arrested last Friday in connection with the murder of a man in Jamaica is also being investigated for as many as 40 other deaths in the Caribbean country.

Witney Hutchinson, 28, is a former police constable in Kingston, Jamaica, who entered Canada legally in 2011 to visit family.

Shortly before he arrived, a Jamaican man named Sylvester Gallimore was murdered. An arrest warrant for Hutchinson was issued in Jamaica a year later, but he managed to evade authorities in that country – until recently.

Investigators in Jamaica contacted the Toronto Police Service last Monday, seeking Hutchinson’s arrest.

The Jamaica Constabulary informed Toronto Police that they have reason to believe Hutchinson was involved in Gallimore’s death, and that he is also being investigated for a number of other murders.

"He's wanted for the one murder and he's being investigated for at least 40 other murders of civilians that have been killed by police officers in Jamaica," Det. Sgt. Wayne Banks told CTV Toronto.

He said Toronto Police have been told by the Jamaican Constabulary that Hutchinson was one of eight or nine Kingston police officers who formed a "Jamaican death squad."

Durham Regional police along with the Toronto Police Fugitive Squad arrested Hutchinson in Ajax.

Residents in the area say they are shocked by the news.

"I didn't know he was that bad of a person," said Sam Abbas, noting he saw police officers near Hutchinson's home prior to the arrest. "That's very scary."

Neighbours told CTV Toronto that Hutchinson was living in a basement apartment for the last couple of months.

It's not clear how Hutchinson was able to remain in Canada for so long after visiting family. Hutchinson is in police custody, pending his return to Jamaica.

With a report from CTV Toronto's Tamara Cherry