Police plead with witnesses to come forward after violent, homophobic assault at Toronto Island
David Gomez is seen here in this undated photo after he was attacked at Toronto Island on June 5, 2021.
TORONTO -- Despite widespread media attention, police say they are still looking for individuals who witnessed a violent and allegedly homophobic assault on a 24-year-old man at the Toronto Island.
The incident took place around 11:30 p.m. on June 5 at the Gerry docks near Hanlan’s Point.
According to police, the victim was assaulted by two men following an interaction in which homophobic comments were made.
Friends have identified the victim as David Gomez. In a post on social media, Gomez said he was “knocked unconscious and nearly beat to death.”
“I was dragged around, kicked and punched in the face.”
Speaking with CTV News Toronto following a surgery for his injuries, Gomez said he was still in a lot of pain.
“I’m scared to leave my home,” he said last week. “It’s been several days since. I only go to and from the hospital now.”
A friend of Gomez’s started a GoFundMe page to help foot his medical bills and told CTV News Toronto that he was shocked when he heard what had happened.
“An incident like this in 2021, where we believe ourselves to be one of the safest places in the country, and you know, one of the safest places in the world, but clearly attacks like this still happen,” he said.
The GoFundMe page, as well as Gomez’s social media page, have been widely circulated since the attack.
However, police say that they have still not received many tips in the investigation.
“I’d implore anyone who has photos, videos, or may have seen anything to please contact us. Even if you think what you saw is irrelevant, tell us anyway,” Det.Cons. Lauren Hassard said in a news release issued Monday afternoon. “The smallest piece of information could be key to this investigation.”
Police are asking anyone who may have been near the docks between 10 p.m. and midnight, or who may have witnessed the assault or the lead up to it, to contact investigators.
Police also said that they would like to speak with two women who were in the immediate area and likely witnessed the assault. They are described as being white, in their 20s with brown hair.
Investigators say the women are not believed to be connected with the victims or the suspects.
Last week, police released a description of three suspects wanted in connection with the assault. No charges have been laid by police so far, but several social media posts have linked an Ottawa Redblacks player to the attack.
The Canadian Football League confirmed that Redblacks defensive linemen Chris Larsen was suspended following “allegations of an assault by a group of individuals” and a pending Toronto police investigation.
In her statement, Hassard said the investigation into the assault was “complex” and involved multiple people.
“I want to assure everyone that we are doing everything possible to ascertain exactly what happened,” she said. “We have to be sure we carry out a thorough investigation, establishing the full facts with evidence to support it.”