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Police Chief Provides Updates on Danzig Shooting

"Strong indications" that gangs may have been involved in last night's shooting, which left two dead and another 21 injured.

“Unprecedented for the city of Toronto.”

That is how Police Chief Bill Blair described last night’s gun fight at 205 Danzig Street, in the vicinity of Morningside and Lawrence. He briefed media at 11 a.m. on the course of the investigation thus far; here is a summary of that briefing:

  • The shooting took place at 10:40 p.m. last night, at a block party; about 200 people were in attendance at its peak. Blair said police hadn’t received prior notification of the event, and responded to a couple of noise complaints earlier in the evening.
  • A total of 23 individuals have suffered gunshot wounds of some kind or other.
  • Two victims were pronounced dead at the scene: one 14-year-old female, and one 23-year-old male. Their next of kin have been notified, but police are not releasing their names until the homicide squad completes its formal identification process. Updates from the homicide squad are expected later today. UPDATE: 3:12 PM Police have now released the names of the victims. They are Shyanne Charles, 14, of Toronto and Joshua Yasay, 23, of Ajax.
  • The remaining 21 injured range in age from a 22-month-old infant, who suffered a grazing injury and is expected to make a full recovery, to a 33-year-old. One male is currently in surgery and is listed in critical condition. All others are expected to recover from their injuries, and several have been released from hospital.
  • Police believe the incident involved a total of two shooters who were targeting each other (as opposed to a shooter or shooters targeting the crowd), and that the injured were bystanders. Specifically, Blair said that both of the individuals who were killed were “completely innocent and caught in the crossfire.”
  • One firearm was recovered at the scene, but Blair would not confirm if it was one of the two handguns that was fired last night.
  • Police have one individual described as a “person of interest” in custody, but would not comment on how this person fits into their investigation, which is very much active and ongoing. Blair is urging anyone with knowledge of the shooting, video from earlier in the night, or any other information to call the homicide squad at (416) 808–7400.
  • Police are “very concerned about the potential for retaliatory violence,” Blair said, and thus it is essential that suspects be brought into custody as quickly as possible. There are, Blair continued, “strong indications that there may have been gang involvement” in the shooting; the Guns and Gangs unit is investigating alongside the homicide squad.
  • Blair is dispatching extra uniformed officers to the area where the shooting took place, as well as to any other areas where police believe there might be a risk of retaliatory violence, in an attempt to prevent the situation from escalating further.
  • Though Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS) officers have had a presence in the area in previous years, this summer TAVIS deployments were in other neighbourhoods. TAVIS officers will be partially redistributed in response to last night’s shooting.

Blair reiterated that Toronto is still a safe city, despite last night’s horrific events, and resisted attempts by the press to describe this as another so-called ‘Summer of the Gun.’ “Right now we are dealing with a very specific crime,” Blair emphasized, refusing to say that this, combined with the Eaton Centre shooting in early June, signaled any larger trends. “There will be a time in the future to reflect on what this means for the city of Toronto,” he concluded, urging calm in the meantime.

This sentiment was echoed by a shaken-looking Mayor Rob Ford, who also spoke with media this morning, and similarly called for the press to resist the temptation to jump to conclusions about crime in Toronto. He called this and the Eaton Centre shooting “a couple of unfortunate and isolated incidents” and described Toronto as “the safest city in North America.”

More to come.


  • Paul Kishimoto

    The team fights a dangerous ground war against a chronic problem for law enforcement — the illegal flow of firearms to the region. That gun, like most that the team seizes, was traced to a legal purchase in the South. These guns are trafficked north, sold to buyers with criminal intent and often used in violent crimes and murders. The .357 revolver recovered that night of the sting originated from a gun dealer in Miami.

    —except that’s on Long Island.

    I also dug up some information on seized guns in Toronto.

  • Michelle N.
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    *holds breath for “Police say no witnesses have come forward” or similar uncooperative/accomplice behaviour*

    • Anonymous

      Who do these people think they are — police?

  • Anonymous

    “I asked him about extending funding for priority neighbourhoods. Mayor’s answer: “The best social program’s a job.” ” — Kelly Grant (tweet),

    • Vampchick21

      I need that Captain Picard facepalm jpg now. Ouch.

    • Vashty Hawkins

      Spoken like an entitled, clueless piece of shit whose daddy handed him a job on a silver platter and has never known a second of poverty or deprivation in his selfish, mean little existence – the mayor that is, not Mr. Grant …

      • Anonymous

        I’m stunned and amazed the media hasn’t picked up on this incredibly inflammatory public remark, casually tossed out at a press scrum.

      • OgtheDim

        Its Ms. Grant BTW….apparently pregnant.

      • Anonymous

        That’s a Ms Grant, but well said.

    • OgtheDim

      That remark was probably followed by : “Or a football program. If you want to donate, here’s my card.”

      • Anonymous

        Jesus wept.

    • Hollow Island

      We’ve put millions of dollars into priority neighbourhoods over the years, and this is the effect it’s having. Sure, there are benefits, but it does nothing to dissuade the evil cowards from killing. It’s unpopular to call them evil, but they are. They are no different than the people who fixed LIBOR, or worked for Goldman Sachs, or orchestrated the Iraq war, and they should be reviled to the same degree.

      A new criminal code should be created to punish people who don’t come forward. Anyone who protects these people who are turning our city into a blood pool is responsible for whatever lives the gun men ruin next. It’s sick.

      • Paul Kishimoto

        Please, share with us the secrets of the crystal ball that lets you discern what would have come to pass without investments in priority neighbourhoods.

        Also, there’s but one Criminal Code; things are added to it or amended.

        • Hollow Island

          Maybe you should read the second sentence of my post, or try to rectify your functional illiteracy. You might want to improve your ability to use logic, too, because nowhere do I suggest that we cease to invest in priority neighbourhoods…

          The criminal code should be amended to punish people who refuse to come forward and indirectly protect murderers. There, are you happy?

          • Paul Kishimoto

            One intended effect of the investments is to have fewer and/or less severe crimes. You say the opposite — that “this [the shooting] is the effect [they're] having” — but provide no description or evidence of any causal relation. I don’t believe either exists.

            If you can produce it, then we can get to the nature-vs.-nurture minefield around “evil cowards.”

          • Hollow Island

            Paul, maybe you should learn to distinguish between a general statement and one that is mean to be taken literally. If you think I was referring to a causal relationship you’re an idiot.

            But since you buy into the nature vs nurture dichotomy you probably are. If you can pronounce it, how try saying “nature and nurture,” and go back to school. Or maybe don’t, and learn to think critically instead.

            There are people in the upper, lower, and middle classes are driven by base, selfish interests, and if you want to pretend that social programs will change the 1/1000 of poor people who live without conscience, then continue to live in a fantasy land. Just because you’re (or should I say “one is,” lest you get confused) poor doesn’t mean you’re a helpless child lost at sea – they have choices to make, and most make the right ones. The ones that don’t – fuck them. We can’t allow them to make life worse for people who choose to live in a civilized society. I don’t know what to do with them, but I doubt that a fucking social program will have any effect on someone who goes to a street party and opens fire. Someone like that, if they’re not going to shoot up a place filled with families, they’re going to forge high interest loans for a larger Christmas bonus.

            If gang members want to kill each other, that’s fine with me. It’s part of the job description. It’s when they kill innocent people that I get angry, mainly because they’re bad at their job, and arer too pussy to fight like a man and take a shot.

            As an aside, can you think of a better term to describe people who, when in a crowded space, shoot wildly? The only other one I can think of is “terrorist.”

          • Anonymous

            “punish people who refuse to come forward and indirectly protect murderers.”

            How do you distinguish “people who refuse to come forward” from “people who are afraid to come forward, because they know from bitter experience the police can’t protect them” from “people who didn’t actually witness anything because they weren’t standing around staring at the gunmen, they were running pell-mell in the other direction” ?

          • Hollow Island

            Obviously if you can’t distinguish, nothing would be done. However, if you look at the twitter summary it’s clear that some people knew that certain people would be there to cause a problem. Those people would be able to help, and if they’re not they should be held accountable.

      • Anonymous

        Just imagine how much worse it would be than. Unless you want to live in East L.A., Detroit?