Toronto rapper Houdini identified as victim of deadly downtown shooting
TORONTO -- Police have identified the victim of a “very brazen” daylight shooting in the city’s downtown core as 21-year-old Toronto rapper Houdini.
On Tuesday, just after 4 p.m., emergency crews responded to multiple reports of shots fired in the area of King Street and Blue Jays Way.
Upon arrival at the scene, officers located a male victim suffering from gunshot wounds. Responding paramedics attempted life-saving measures, but were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The victim has since been identified by police as Dimarjio Jenkins, a rapper who lived in Toronto and was known as Houdini.
Word of Houdini's death spread quickly on social media on Tuesday night. Several posts and comments were written online honouring his life and the mark he made on Toronto and Canada's hip-hop music scene.
“He was such a kind young man. He had a very promising future in music,” Jag Virk, a lawyer who said Houdini was a client of his, wrote on Instagram. “Many fans considered him to be the next big star to come out of Toronto. May his soul rest in peace.”
In a statement issued on Wednesday afternoon, HipHopCanada’s founder and editor-in-chief, Jesse Plunkett, called Houdini's death a “devastating blow to the Toronto and Canadian music community.”
“He was an independent rising star widely considered on his way to ‘making it’ in the music industry and appreciation for his music already extended way past the GTA,” Plunkett said. “Very few Canadian hip-hop artists have been able to achieve the views and streams independently that Houdini did, which makes the fact that he didn’t get to take his career to the next level even more devastating.”
“Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family, friends and fans.”
Warner Music Canada, which worked with Jenkins on a compliation album showcasing Toronto's "rising stars," told The Canadian Press the young man was "exceptionally talented."
"Houdini had unlimited potential as an artist and we are incredibly saddened that his life was cut short," the company's president Steve Kane said. "Our thoughts are with his family during this unimaginable time. We urge our elected officials to help address the root causes of gun violence and put an end to these tragedies."
Investigation remains ongoing
Two other people were also struck by gunfire at the time, a 15-year-old boy and a 27-year-old woman. They were both transported to hospital from the scene and are expected to survive.
Police said the woman appears to have had nothing to do with this and was an innocent bystander.
The shooting took place outside the Bisha Hotel & Residences. The building is in a densely-populated area that even amid COVID-19 restrictions sees a high volume of pedestrian traffic.
On Wednesday morning, the area remained filled with police tape and bullet holes as investigators continue to comb through any remaining evidence.
A firearm was recovered at the scene on Tuesday, police said.
No arrests have been made thus far and no suspect descriptions have been released, but Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said on Tuesday night that the case is “very solvable.”
He said the fatal shooting is believed to be a targeted attack as initial evidence obtained at the scene indicated that the suspects were waiting in a vehicle for around 40 minutes prior to gunfire erupting.
The shooter exited the passenger side of the suspect vehicle, opened fire, and then got back in the car, Saunders said.
The suspect vehicle has been described by investigators as possibly being a blue Volkswagen Tiguan. Police said it was last seen heading southbound on Blue Jays Way before turning westbound on Front Street and then northbound on Spadina Avenue.
The 15-year-old boy injured in the incident returned fire, a police source told CP24 on Wednesday afternoon. The source said the teenager is now facing gun-related charges.
It is not yet clear what the relationship between the suspects and the victims who were targeted is.
Investigators are asking anyone with further information to come forward.