‘We need help’: Police release video of shootings in northwest end of Toronto
Toronto police have released surveillance video of three separate shootings in the northwest end of the city that left innocent people injured, and are hoping members of the community come forward with new information.
At a news conference held Thursday afternoon, Toronto Police Supt. Ron Taverner explained that about 40 per cent of all firearm discharges in the city occur in the northwest end of the city.
“The number of guns out there are unbelievable,” he said. “I said it last week and I’ll say it again. I’m pissed off that the people in this community have to put up with this.”
“There are good people in this area. Ninty-nine per cent of these people are good people that are living in these communities and they deserve better. And we are trying our best to do what we can to eradicate the gun violence, but quite frankly, we can’t do it alone. We need help. We need help from the public,” Taverner added.
At the news conference, Toronto police released video surveillance of three shootings that exhibited what Taverner called “a blatant disregard for human life.”
The first video showed a robbery that “went terribly bad,” according to Taverner.
The shooting itself took place on June 10 at around 3:30 p.m. in a residential parking lot near Jane Street and Steeles Avenue West in North York.
The video shows three masked suspects confronting a group of people in the parking lot.
The suspects hold the victims at gunpoint and go through their pockets. At one point, one of the suspects strikes a 29-year-old man in the face with a firearm, causing it to discharge. The man is seen falling to the ground between two parked vehicles.
“The suspects run away, but come back later and empty their guns into this victim who is on the ground,” Taverner told reporters. “He sustained life-threatening injuries.”
Police have identified the suspects as male, but said they have not yet determined their race or age. The first suspect is described as being between five-foot-ten to six-feet with a thin build. He was last seen wearing a grey baseball hat, a light blue zipper jacket, light blue jeans and black shoes. The second suspect is about the same height, but police said he has a medium build. He was seen in the video wearing a black hoodie with the hood up, grey track pants and black shoes.
The third suspect is between five-foot-eleven and six-foot-one with a thin build. He was last seen wearing a dark blue hoodie with the hood up, black pants and black shoes.
All three suspects had their faces covered, police said.
The second shooting occurred on Aug. 30 around 11:20 p.m. in front of a residence in the area of John Garland Boulevard and Martin Grove Road in Rexdale.
A group of people were sitting in front of a residence when they were approached by two suspects holding firearms, police said.
The video showed two suspects walking down an alleyway beside the home. They then “start shooting randomly at people” Taverner said. The victims scatter, some ducking into the home through the front door and others running down the street.
“These are just innocent people in their backyard having a barbecue,” Taverner said.
A 20-year-old man was shot and sustained non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
Police said the suspects fled the area on foot towards Finch Avenue West.
The first suspect is described as having a skinny build and was last seen wearing a hoodie and beige pants. The second suspect was last seen wearing dark clothing.
Police said that officers are also searching for a dark-coloured small four-door Sedan in connection with the shooting.
The last video showed a shooting that occurred last Tuesday just after 7 p.m. near Jamestown Crescent and John Garland Boulevard in Rexdale.
Two men were walking home from a nearby plaza when they were approached by two suspects from behind. The suspects are seen in the video shooting the men. One of the two victims can then be seen falling down in the middle of the parking lot.
A 41-year-old man and a 44-year-old man were found suffering from gunshot wounds.
One of the suspects was described by police as male, six-foot-ten, with a skinny build. He was last seen wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt with a log on the front, black track pants with white stripes on the sides, black shoes and a baseball hat.
There was no description for the second suspect.
Investigators did not indicate there was a connection between the three incidents.
Taverner said that Toronto police have created a task force to deal specifically with what he calls “vicious, horrific occurrences” of gun violence in the area. He said that the task force has seized five firearms in the last five days.
“They’ve made numerous, numerous arrests, recovered numerous firearms, but with the number of firearms that keep increasing and the disregard for human life that is taking place … we as a community need to stand up and say we are just not going to put up with this.”
Taverner is encouraging anyone with information about these three shootings to contact the authorities or to reach out to Crime Stoppers anonymously.