A man was shot to death in Scarborough on Sunday afternoon, according to Toronto police, a slaying that marks the city’s 90th homicide this year — breaking a record that has stood since 1991.
Paramedics said the victim was suffering from gunshot wounds. He was unconscious and not breathing, and was pronounced dead a short time later.
Police said they found shell casings inside the building.
Victim did not live in building, police say
Detective Paul Worden said Sunday night that the victim was approximately 30 years old. He declined to release more information on the victim’s identity because his next of kin had not yet been notified.
Worden said investigators were continuing to canvass the building on Sunday night.
The victim did not live in the building, Worden said, but added that the deceased had acquaintances in the building and was well known to its residents.
“We do know from the little bit of surveillance video we’ve watched so far that he was with three or four other parties prior to his murder,” he said. The victim was known to police.
Police are now looking at video outside of the building.
“We do have a direction of travel of some people that were seen leaving the building shortly after the murder, and we would like to track their whereabouts,” Worden added.
A massive police presence surrounded the complex Sunday afternoon as officers canvassed units floor by floor. Members of the force’s emergency task force — effectively a SWAT unit — were also called in in the initial aftermath of the shooting.
Sunday evening, police towed away a black minivan with no licence plates that was marked as evidence.
Worden said that the vehicle did not belong to the victim and that police do not believe it was directly involved in the crime.
The force’s homicide unit has been called in to investigate.
The shooting is the 90th slaying in Toronto this year, the most homicides in any one year the city has faced. The previous record was 89 killings in 1991.
Speaking to reporters in the aftermath of another fatal shooting earlier this week, the acting inspector of the city’s homicide unit said “there is definitely an uptick in the number of shootings” this year relative to other types of homicides.
Hank Idsinga said that while police are seizing more guns off the streets than ever before, “the shootings keep happening.”
He recalled that 1991 was marked by a bitter gangland feud that included several high-profile fatal shootings with multiple victims. Community outcry to the violence subsequently led to a considerable increase in public tips to police, which in turn helped keep homicide figures in Toronto in check for many years afterward.
“There was a reaction from the public. The public got involved and provided the tips that allowed us to successfully investigate those crimes and get the right people behind bars,” Idsinga said.
In a statement issued later Sunday, Toronto Mayor John Tory said this year’s homicide total is “not something anyone, including me, can accept.”
“The people of Toronto know there is no magic answer … but people do have the right to expect their governments will work together to reduce violent crime,” Tory said.
“I am absolutely determined to see us do better next year and every future year. I know with the public’s help we can keep Toronto safe.”