Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Downtown Toronto shooting victims targeted, but unrelated to gangs: police

Two men who were shot to death last weekend on a busy street in downtown Toronto were targeted by the suspect but were not gang affiliated, police said.

David Eminess, 26, and Quinn Taylor, 29, were shot early Jan. 31 outside New Ho King restaurant on Spadina Avenue near the Nassau Street intersection. Their deaths are the latest in a spate of shootings in the city since the beginning of this year.

Mr. Eminess and Mr. Taylor were out with another friend at about 3 a.m., and the group may have got into an altercation with the man, Toronto police Staff Inspector Greg McLane said at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.

Their friend was also targeted in the shooting and is in hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Two bystanders were injured.

“One possibility could be where there was some altercation, words spoken, an unintentional bump,” Staff Insp. McLane said. “… Something has led to this. Obviously, the shooter has jumped from zero to 1,000. There was very low tolerance. He just pulled his weapon.”

Police have not yet released any description of the suspect, and Staff Insp. McLane asked for witnesses to come forward with information, including store owners in the area who may have security-camera footage.

Toronto has had 10 homicides so far this year – eight of which were shootings – and a 70-per-cent increase in gun-related violence. January, 2015, had four homicides, and only two involved firearms. “I believe there are more guns out there,” Staff Insp. McLane said. “The thing that I’ve noticed over the last few years is that people are not afraid to use [guns]. A lot of the homicide investigations that we’ve done over the last couple of years were just ruthless acts of violence. We’ve seen it before, but not so much.”

Many were targeted shootings, he explained, and some were “outright assassinations” of gang members by other street gangs.

“Gang members and people are carrying guns,” Staff Insp. McLane said. “[Many of those who illegally carry guns] have a low threshold and it doesn’t take much for them to pull the gun out and use it on unsuspecting individuals. The circumstances here, I believe, speak to that.”

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