Second arrest made in shooting at Scarborough playground
A second arrest has been made in connection with the daylight shooting of two young sisters at a Scarborough playground in June.
The victims, ages five and nine, were among 16 children gathered at a playground on Alton Towers Circle at around 5 p.m. on June 14 when two armed men fired up to 10 shots and then fled the scene in a vehicle driven by a third individual.
Police have said that they believe the shooters were targeting a man who was at a playground with his child at the time but hit the young girls instead.
The five-year-old sustained a gunshot wound to her abdomen while the nine-year-old sustained a gunshot wound to the area above her ankle. Both are expected to make a full recovery.
The mother of the two young girls said she still has a lot of questions about that day.
“Why did you do this to my kids? What was your motive? What was your reason to do something like that?” Stacey King said to CTV News Toronto. “My children are not the same, my family is not the same because of this. I could have been burying three of my kids because of their stupidness.”
King said it has been hard for her children to move on, as they have scars that remind them of the shooting every day.
“They are still emotionally traumatized,” she said. “They aren’t my girls who are outgoing. I just want my girls to be back to their normal five and nine-year-old selves.”
One of the three suspects in the shooting, 21-year-old Sheldon Eriya, was arrested in Pickering the following day but two other suspects in the case had remained outstanding.
Police say that one of those suspects, 23-year-old Tarrick Rhoden, was taken into custody in the area of Stanhope Airport Road and North Shore Road in Algonquin Highlands on Wednesday.
They say that he was arrested by a tactical team with Ontario Provincial Police Minden detachment after investigators received information that he was “hiding out in a cottage” in the area.
“I can tell you that over the last couple months we spent a lot of time and effort trying to locate Mr. Rhoden,” Det. Sgt. Jim Gottell told CTV News on Thursday. “It has been sort of old-fashioned police work where we thought we knew where he might be and had a lot of people in the neighbourhood trying to find him. Several times we were close but we were unfortunately not able to get him. Then this time we did.”
Rhoden is facing a total of 17 charges, including attempted murder, two counts of aggravated assault and a number of drug and firearm-related offences.
He appeared in court at Old City Hall on Thursday but was remanded into court until Aug. 28.
Vern McPhail, 59, of Brampton, was also arrested on Wednesday and charged with accessory after the fact to commit an indictable offence. Police allege that McPhail owned the cottage where Rhoden was staying.
King said she is relieved to hear that a second suspect has been taken into custody and hopes both men get “the maximum sentence that they deserve.”
The third suspect, 23-year-old T’Quan Robertson, continues to be wanted on a Canada-wide warrant.
Gottell said that Robertson is likely receiving support from “some friends or members of the community.”
He said that now that Rhoden is in custody, police can “redouble” their efforts to apprehend Robertson.
“We will be looking for him aggressively and then we will find him,” he said.