‘I’m happy to be alive.’ Witnesses describe shooting that left two men dead near Jane and Finch

‘I’m happy to be alive.’ Witnesses describe shooting that left two men dead near Jane and Finch

Two men are dead following a shooting in the Jane and Finch area Tuesday evening, Toronto police say.

Police responded to reports of a shooting in the area of Jane Street and Yorkwoods Gate, south of Finch Avenue West, at around 9:30 p.m.

Paramedics say the men were rushed to a trauma centre with “very serious” injuries. Both died in hospital, said Const. Caroline de Kloet.

Police were made aware of that shooting after they heard shots while attending another crime scene, about a block away, near Driftwood Avenue and London Green Court two hours earlier.

There, they found a 16-year-old with gunshot wounds. Paramedics told the Star the teen sustained minor injuries.

There is no evidence to suggest the two shootings were related, police said.

No suspect information is available, police said.

Two men are dead following a shooting in the Jane and Finch area Tuesday evening, Toronto police say. A number of bullet holes in a unit in the townhouse complex beside the Oakdale Community Centre.

As fire crews cleaned bloodstains at the scene early Wednesday morning, several school-age children were seen looking curiously at a number of bullet holes in a unit in the townhouse complex beside the Oakdale Community Centre.

A total of eight bullet marks could be seen in the exterior surface of the unit, home to resident Marlon James.

James told the Star he was cooking fried plantains in the kitchen when he first heard one shot outside, then the crash of bullets coming through the window.

Speaking to the Star outside his home, he pointed to one bullet hole in particular; that one was very near his head, he said.

James said he ran into his home to lie down in cover. His young daughter was upstairs with her mother at the time of the shooting, he said.

“I heard this shattering sound . . . The glass flew on me,” he said.

James said he found one bullet in his home Tuesday night, and he thinks there’s two more in the home.

“I’m happy to be alive,” he said, before taking his daughters to school Wednesday morning.

A mother of three named Keisha who lives across the courtyard from the shooting said she at first thought the shots were firecrackers — kids at the complex are “always setting off firecrackers,” she said. The sound of the gunfire was “po, po, po, po,” she said.

She said she opened her door to find one man who appeared to be dead on the ground in the courtyard and another nearby, under James’s kitchen window, who appeared to be breathing.

She said she has never seen anything like it at the complex before.

A total of eight bullet marks could be seen in resident Marlon James's home.

“It could have been my son,” she said. “There’s always children setting off fireworks.”

Investigators are reviewing surveillance video at the townhouse complex, de Kloet said.

Several neighbours said the did not recognize either of the two victims.

Later Wednesday morning, officers could be seen by a white Ford SUV parked outside the Jane and Finch Boys and Girls Club, still inside the complex just around the corner from the courtyard scene.

Another neighbour, a mother of seven named Asha, said she woke up to the sound of shots to see the silhouette of two hands holding guns in her window, which faces the courtyard.

She said she heard two sets of about four shots before a group of more than three people ran south out the courtyard.

The woman, who did not give her last name because she said she was afraid, said she had been searching for a new place to live, also in Toronto Community Housing, after her son was chased by gunmen about a month ago, steps from the scene of Tuesday night’s double homicide.

“I have to move, man,” she said.

Thirty people have been killed by gunfire this year in Toronto.

Including the latest victims, 44 men and nine women have been killed so far. They are:

  • Lorraine Kerubo Ogoti, 30, was stabbed in an eighth-floor unit of a Scarborough apartment building on Jan. 8. Her boyfriend, Mowlid Hassan, 40, was found dead outside the building. Police have concluded Ogoti’s death was a murder-suicide.
  • Hanh (Hana) Nguyen, 41, was stabbed at her home near Jane St. and St. Clair Ave. W., on Jan. 24. Austin Le, 40, was found at the scene and charged with second-degree murder.
  • Jason Otis Lewis, 47, was found dead at an apartment on Broadway Ave., near Yonge St. and Eglinton Ave. E. on March 4. An autopsy found he died of blunt-force trauma. Quentin Luke Lewis, 42, was arrested two days later and charged with second-degree murder.
  • Jennyfer Lachappelle, 41, was found dead on at an apartment near Davenport Rd. and Symington Ave. on March 13. Andrew Gerber, 38, has been charged with second-degree murder. Friends said Gerber and Lachappelle were in a relationship and may have been engaged.
  • Helen Fronczak, 79, was found dead at an apartment near Kipling Ave. and Eglinton Ave. W. on March 19. Larry Fronczak, 80, has been charged with second-degree murder.
  • Wilfred Kent Truman, 77, was killed in his home near Eglinton Ave. W. and Black Creek Dr. on April 15. Kyle Truman, 49, of Toronto, has been charged with first-degree murder.

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  • Lawrence Taylor Gannon, 28, was shot on Ivy Green Cres., near Brimorton Dr. and Orton Park Rd., in Scarborough on April 28. He died in hospital two days later.
  • Premachchandran Sundaralingam, 53, was found injured inside a home near Renforth Dr. and Rathburn Rd. on April 28. He died in hospital the next day. Richard Turner, 48, of Toronto, was arrested on May 2 and has been charged with manslaughter, aggravated assault and threatening death.
  • Blain Gerrado Grindley, 26, was shot in Rexdale near John Garland Blvd. and Humber College Blvd. on May 1. Michael Smith, 29, of Toronto, surrendered to police on May 20. He’s charged with first degree murder. Police are still looking for Dayne Sitladeen, 27, of Mississauga.
  • Justin Kyle Ezeard, 23, was shot at a commercial establishment near Steeles Ave. W. and Islington Ave. on May 3. Shawn Vassel, 35, of Toronto, was arrested on July 10, charged with second-degree murder.
  • Brendon Bowler, 17, was stabbed near Sir Wilfrid Laurier C.I. near Guildwood Pkwy. and Livingston Rd. on May 6. Emmett Carew, 18, and Cheddi Itwaroo, 20, both of Toronto, are charged with second-degree murder.
  • Valland Spolarich, 43, was found dead at his home at Shanly St. and Westmoreland Ave. on May 21. Herculano Pimentel, 50, of Toronto has been charged with second-degree murder.
  • James Andrew Smith, 52, was stabbed while he was standing at the door of 730 Yonge St. near Charles St. on June 8. Eric Bryant Ram, 24, of no fixed address, has been charged with second-degree murder.
  • Johnson Reyes, 61, was stabbed at Parkwoods Village Dr. and Gisburn Rd., west of Victoria Park Ave. in North York on June 28.
  • Jaydin Simpson, 17, was shot in a parking lot near Danzig St. and Morningside Ave. in Scarborough on June 28.

Christopher Teape, 25, and Ahmed Mohamud, 32, both from Toronto, were shot at an apartment building on Emmett Ave., near Jane St. and Eglinton Ave. W., on June 29. A third man was also shot, and suffered non life-threatening injuries. Denzil Kemoy Williams, 33, of Toronto, was arrested July 27, and charged with two counts of first degree murder.

  • Jordan Armstrong, 33, was shot inside Orchid nightclub on Peter St., near Spadina Ave., on June 30. Staff found the club promoter suffering from gunshot wounds at 3 a.m., and he later died in hospital.
  • Dwain Frederick Adams, 61, was assaulted in a restaurant near Queen St. E. and Sherbourne St. on July 1. He died in hospital on July 6. Patrick Gayle, 46, was arrested for aggravated assault, which was later upgraded to manslaughter on July 6.
  • Kathryn Niedoba, 36, was found with life-threatening injuries near Dovercourt Park on July 18 and died in hospital. Matthew Larmon, 43, of Toronto, was arrested the next day and charged with manslaughter.
  • Grenville Johhnson, 56, was stabbed at a drop-in program operated by Wychwood Open Door on Aug. 7 at about 3 p.m. Glen McGregor, 57, of Toronto, charged with second-degree murder.
  • Kevin Reddick, 29, was shot in East York near Wakunda Pl. and Parma Ct., just before 2:20 p.m. Aug. 9. Two suspects are wanted in connection with the shooting.
  • Paolo Caputo, 64, was shot in front of his restaurant on Roncesvalles Ave., near Grenadier Rd., just after 4 p.m. Aug. 16. Police are looking for one suspect who fled the scene after jumping in a waiting car. Caputo was an associate of Montreal mob boss Vito Rizzuto.
  • Minh Le, 61, was shot in a North York plaza at around 10:50 p.m. Aug. 19. He died in hospital two days later. He was found lying on the ground in a parking lot near a McDonald’s drive through at Weston Rd. and Highway 401.
  • Abdikani Ismail, 33, of Toronto, was shot while he was driving on Weston Rd., near Jane St., at about 9:10 p.m. Aug. 21. The shooter’s car pulled up beside Ismail’s vehicle and started firing while both were still moving.
  • A resident of Bendale Acres Long-Term care facility in Scarborough died on Sept. 3 after an altercation with another resident. He was taken to hospital where he died.
  • Chiou-Shuang (Susan) Cheng, 40, was found dead inside a residence on Bonis Ave. on April 3 around 11:30 a.m. Followng a suspicious death investigation, 53-year-old Mansour Jalali, 53, of Toronto, was arrested on Sept. 7. He has been charged with first-degree murder.
  • Tharshika Jeganathan, 27, was attacked with a machete at Fishery Rd., near Morrish and Ellesmere Rds. on Sept. 11. Sasikaran Thanapalasingam, 38, surrendered to police later that day and charged with first degree murder. The two had been in a previous relationship.
  • Vito Lapolla, 72, was shot outside a café in the area of Dufferin St. and Glencairn Ave. on Sept. 16. Suspect jumped out of the car and shot him outside Tony’s Espresso Bar.
  • Donovan Betty, 21, was shot in the parking lot of 545 The West Mall on Sept. 24. Police are looking for a dark coloured sedan that fled the scene.
  • Robin Besito, 50, was found injured Sept. 24 at George Hislop Park near Yonge and Bloor streets. He was taken to hospital where he died three days later.
  • Amir Naraine, 21, of Toronto, was shot and killed on Sept. 29. His body was found in a car near Kipling Avenue and Steeles Avenue West. Police believe he may have been shot elsewhere.
  • One male, 24, was shot and killed on Oct. 1. His body was found near Jane St. and Yorkwoods Gate, south of Finch Ave., around 9:30 p.m. Police reported the man dead after he had been transported to a trauma centre.

In 2018, Toronto broke its record for homicides in a single year, with 96 in total.

With files from Jacob Lorinc and Miriam Lafontaine

Ed Tubb

Ed Tubb is an assignment editor and a contributor to the Star’s coverage of the 2019 federal election. He is based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @edtubb

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