Police retrieve handgun in TTC bus shooting
Police have recovered the handgun they believe was used in a shooting on a TTC bus -- a fight they also believe stemmed from an earlier fight downtown.
The teenaged victim had squabbled with his much-older assailant and that person's companion on Monday.
When the teen boarded the bus early Monday afternoon on Oakwood Avenue near Vaughan Road, the fight began again almost immediately.
Someone fired a shot. The bus driver pulled over and the three left the bus. Outside the bus, the suspect allegedly fired a shot, wounding the victim in the hip. The victim was also pistol-whipped. None of the other 12 passengers aboard the bus were injured.
The suspects were last seen running south on Oakwood. An intensive police search for the two didn't result in arrests.
The first suspect is believed to be about 40 years old, standing tall at about 6'1" with a thin build and facial hair on his medium black complexion. Witnesses told police he spoke with a low voice and he was armed with a gun.
The second suspect has a dark black complexion and is in his early 30s. He is about 5'9" and clean shaven.
Paramedics took the 17-year-old to Sunnybrook Hospital where he was treated for his wounds. His injuries weren't considered life-threatening.
CTV Toronto reports that the victim told police he didn't know his alleged assailants by name.
Police investigators are reviewing security camera footage from the bus and from area businesses in a search for clues.
Meanwhile, city officials are defending the TTC as a safe service.
"This is great concern to us," TTC chair Adam Giambrone told reporters. "Obviously when we've had a number of unfortunately events over the last couple weeks, we're going to hope that they don't represent a trend. We're going to hope that they're a coincidence, that they all occurred in a short sequence together and they're not going to reoccur."
One TTC rider told CTV Toronto that while the incident was tragic, it wouldn't stop her from using the TTC.
She also thought there were social issues that had to be addressed, instead of putting all the onus on the TTC.
Besides this latest incident, an alleged swarming occurred aboard a TTC bus in the area of Flemington Road and Varna Drive.
Four suspects surrounded a 19-year-old male, taking an iPod from the victim's pocket.
The victim reported seeing a handgun protruding from the waistband of one suspect, with the gun being passed to others over the course of the incident.
Here are some other critical TTC security incidents:
- Jan. 22 - a man was shot at the Osgoode subway station. The victim did not suffer serious injuries and a suspected shooter is in custody.
- Feb. 3-4 - collectors at two subway stations were robbed
- Feb/ 12 - a man was stabbed at Wilson subway station. The 29-year-old victim was taken to hospital with serious but non life-threatening injuries.
- Feb. 13 - three teens were pushed onto the path of an oncoming subway train. Two of them lost their balance and fell onto the tracks but were able to roll underneath the lip of the platform, escaping serious injury.
On Tuesday evening, a possibly inebriated passenger allegedly assaulted a TTC streetcar operator in the Spadina Avenue and Queen Street West area. The operator's injuries are reportedly minor.
A Liberal MPP wants to see new laws at the federal and provincial levels to punish those who bring weapons into the transit system or commits violence against either transit employees or other passengers.
Mike Colle, who represents Eglinton-Lawrence (the shooting occurred in the adjacent St. Pauls constituency), proposes the following in a private member's bill to be tabled:
- a fine of up to $50,000 for taking a weapon onto a public transit vehicle
- a two-year sentence for anyone who commits an act of violence against a transit employee or customer
Colle, who wants action in Ottawa as well as at Queen's Park, claimed Monday's shooting is yet more evidence that the violence problem is growing out of control.
"With the recent near-fatal shoving incident at the Dufferin subway station, the armed robberies of the Lawrence West and Yorkdale subway stations, and the shooting at Osgoode subway station, it is clear that it is getting out of hand," he said.
Attorney-General Chris Bentley said he welcomes any suggestion on how to improve public safety and will review the bill once it is tabled.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Jim Junkin and files from The Canadian Press