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Victim of deadly Scarborough shooting was 'innocent' teenager, police say
TORONTO -- A 15-year-old boy has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with a shooting near a Scarborough gas station that left a “completely innocent” teenager dead.
Emergency crews were called to the area of Markham and Ellesmere roads around 3:10 p.m. on Monday after receiving multiple reports of gunshots heard nearby.
When police arrived at the scene, they found 15-year-old Safiullah Khosrawi suffering from a gunshot wound. He was transported to a trauma centre for treatment, but later died of his injuries.
In a news conference held Tuesday afternoon, Toronto Police Homicide Det. Sgt. Andy Singh said that Khosrawi was most likely walking home from school when he was shot.
”I want to indicate that our victim, Safiullah Khosrawi, is not known to police. I have spoken to his family and they have described him as a very nice, quiet young man who attended school on a regular basis.”
“They are completely distraught and shocked at the death of their son.”
Singh said that it is still too early in the investigation to determine if Khosrawi was the intended target of the shooter.
Speaking with CP24, Khosrawi’s brother said that he was at work when he heard that his brother had been injured in a shooting near his school.
“I couldn’t believe it. I just ran straight to the office, took off my vest, took off my gear, and just ran right to my car. I couldn’t even breathe properly,” Hamed Khosrawi said. “My brother, he kept to himself. All he did was wake up in the morning, go to school, come home for lunch, go back to school, come right back home. That was it.”
“(He) didn’t have an issue with anybody.”
Suspect appears in court on Tuesday
According to investigators, a 15-year-old boy was taken into custody in connection with the shooting about 20 minutes after the incident. He has since been charged with second-degree murder.
The accused appeared in court on Tuesday wearing an orange prison jumpsuit. He is scheduled to appear again in court on Feb. 4.
Singh said the teenager was known to police and had “some gang ties.”
“It is unclear if that has played into this incident,” Singh told reporters. “What I can tell you is the victim, which I really want to emphasize the message here, was completely innocent in the sense that he did not have any ties to any individuals, his own past and his record, there was nothing there that would indicate he would end up in such a situation.”
The suspect cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Both teenagers were students at Woburn College Institute
Singh said that both the accused and the victim were students at Woburn Collegiate Institute, but said he has no information to indicate the two knew each other.
In a letter sent home to parents, the school said that the incident was a “senseless act of violence in the community.”
“Our student, Safiullah Khosrawi, was a conscientious and hardworking student and will be sorely missed by our students and staff,” the letter said. “A book of condolences is available for students to sign and the flag at Woburn CI has been lowered to half-staff in his honour.”
Social workers and guidance counsellors will be made available to students for “as long as they are needed.”
Khosrawi was in Grade 10.
Police urge witnesses to come forward
Singh said that he believes there are still a “large percentage” of witnesses that have yet to speak with investigators.
“This incident occurred in broad daylight and there was significant pedestrian traffic in and around the area of the incident. I believe many citizens would have been witness to what unfolded at this scene,” he said.
“As this unfolded, after the gunshots went off, people were running everywhere… It is quite a traumatic thing. Many of these witnesses have yet to come forward.”
Anyone with information or video footage of the area is being asked to contact police or reach out to Crime Stoppers anonymously.