Suspect's photo released after TTC employee shot
Published Monday, February 27, 2012 2:48PM EST
A suspect in the shooting of a TTC ticket collector is believed to be behind two other recent robbery attempts at the same subway station, Toronto police said on Monday as they released images of the man.
The announcement comes after an employee in his mid-50s was shot through the glass of a ticket booth at the Dupont subway station Sunday evening.
Staff Insp. Mike Earl said a suspect wearing a balaclava demanded cash from the fare collector, pulling out his handgun and threatening to shoot the victim if he did not comply.
After a brief conversation, the suspect walked a short distance away, turned and fired three shots, striking the victim twice.
The suspect then fled the station north on Spadina Avenue. Police say no money was taken during the attack.
Toronto police said the victim was wounded once in the neck and once in the shoulder. He was rushed St. Michael's Hospital with life-threatening injuries.
His status was upgraded to non-life threatening Monday morning.
Police are now appealing for witnesses to come forward and assist with the investigation. Earl said several people saw the exchange and even chased the suspect as he fled, adding that police need those witnesses to help identify the attacker.
The suspect has been described as a white male between 35 and 50 years of age with no discernable accent.
He was armed with a revolver and carried a satchel backpack during Monday's robbery.
Police say the suspect has also been connected to two robberies at Dupont station.
On June 11, an armed suspect wearing a medical mask demanded cash, while a suspect wearing a full balaclava made a similar demand on Oct. 2. In both cases the suspect escaped with a small amount of cash.
Safety measures to be ‘reconsidered'
The head of the Toronto Transit System says safety measures must be "reconsidered" following the attack over the weekend.
Interim general manager Andy Byford says the TTC has already taken several steps to reduce the risk to ticket collectors posted in subway stations, including reducing the amount of money kept on hand, and installing security cameras and alarm systems in collection booths.
"There's a number of measures we've already taken. Clearly events of last night suggest that we need to reconsider that," Byford said following a special meeting on Monday.
During a public appearance on Monday, Coun. Doug Ford suggested the TTC should move to a New York-style system, which does away with collectors and relies on automated ticket collection. Mayor Rob Ford said the idea is worth considering.