Tuesday , May 11 2021

Daylight sets Toronto's 90th homicide this year – a terrible new record

A man was shot dead in Scarborough on Sunday afternoon, according to Toronto police, a murder that marks the city's 90th homicide this year – breaking a record since 1991.

Police were called to a residential building on the southeast corner of Lawrence Avenue E. and Kingston Road at 1:23 pm. following the sound of shots coming from the stairs. Officials with 43 Division were nearby and arrived four minutes later.

The paramedics said the victim was suffering from gunshot wounds. He was unconscious and not breathing, and was pronounced dead shortly after.

Police said they found cartridges inside the building.

Victim did not live in a building, police say

Detective Paul Worden said on Sunday night that the victim was about 30 years old. He declined to disclose further information about the identity of the victim because his family members had not yet been notified.

Worden said investigators were continuing to investigate the building on Sunday night.

The victim did not live in the building, Worden said, but added that the deceased had known in the building and was well known to its residents.

Detective Paul Worden says the victim was about 30 years old. (CBC)

"We know from the little surveillance video we've seen so far that he had three or four other parts before his murder," he said. The victim was known by the police.

Police are now looking at the video outside the building.

"We have a travel direction of some people who were seen leaving the building soon after the murder, and we would like to track their whereabouts," added Worden.

A huge police presence surrounded the complex late on Sunday, when police officers examined the units, floor to ceiling. Members of the force's emergency task force – effectively a unit of SWAT – were also called in the initial aftermath of the shooting.

Broken record

On Sunday night, police towed a black minivan with no sign that was marked as evidence.

Worden said the vehicle did not belong to the victim and that police do not believe she is directly involved in the crime.

The force homicide unit was called in to investigate.

The shooting is the 90th murder in Toronto this year, the highest number of homicides in any year the city has faced. The previous record was 89 murders in 1991.

Speaking to reporters after another fatal shooting earlier this week, the city's homicide inspector said "there is definitely an increase in the number of shootings" this year compared to other types of homicides.

Hank Idsinga said that while police are seizing more guns than ever before, "the shootings continue to occur."

He recalled that 1991 was marked by a bitter gang dispute that included several high profile fatal shootings with several victims. The community's outcry about violence led to a significant increase in public tips for the police, which in turn helped contain the homicide data in Toronto for many years.

"There was a reaction from the public. The public became involved and provided the tips that enabled us to successfully investigate these crimes and put the right people behind bars," said Idsinga.

In a statement released on Sunday, Toronto Mayor John Tory said that this year's total homicide "is not something anyone, myself included, can accept."

"The people of Toronto know that there is no magic answer … but people have the right to expect their governments to work together to reduce violent crime," Tory said.

"I am absolutely determined to see ourselves better next year and all future years. I know with the help of the public that we can keep Toronto safe."

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