Two years after the murder of 27-year-old Thane Murray, children are slowly starting to come back onto the basketball courts.
In September 2021, a triple shooting in Regent Park claimed the life of Murray, a community youth worker.
Murray worked with children at community centres across Regent Park. He was well-loved by the children he mentored and was in a blossoming relationship with another community worker.
After the murder, Const. Mustafa Popalzai was assigned duty at Murray’s memorial site and noticed the area, once bustling with kids playing basketball and soccer, was now empty.
Popalzai created a program that partnered Toronto police with the community to provide a sense of safety to the kids.
“I believe it worked. And again, it’s just reassuring the communities and the youth that we have to move on, not in terms of forgetting about Thane Murray, but in memory of Murray. And do the things that would make him happy.”
On Sept. 19, 2021, Randy Hamilton received news that would change his life forever. His eldest son, Thane Murray, had been shot and killed while meeting up with some of his friends.
His father described him as “in a good place” in his life but it was taken away all too soon by four shooters in a dark vehicle.
Now, with two men in custody and two more at large, Hamilton is hoping investigators can bring some closure to the investigation.
Det. Munish Dhoum was one of the first investigators at the scene that September night.
Around 8:52 p.m. when police responded to a shooting in the area of Oak and Sumach streets. Officers found two men seriously injured and Murray was pronounced dead at the scene.
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“There’s no doubt in my mind that they targeted the area,” Dhoum said. “These were innocent victims.”
Hamilton was having a quiet night at home when he got the tragic news. He rushed down to St. Michael’s hospital to join his family but after hours of waiting, Hamilton was told to head to the police station.
“I just knew,” Hamilton said. “And my heart just dropped.”
Two weeks before Christmas, news came that two had been arrested and a warrant had been issued.
Noah Anderson and Junior Jahmal Harvey, both 20 years old at the time, were arrested and charged with one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder each in connection with the shooting. An arrest warrant for 27-year-old Jabreel Elmi was issued.
Dhoum said that thanks to the community, it was easier to put the jigsaw puzzle pieces together to figure out who police say was responsible for the crime. Many witnesses and residents in the area were more than willing to speak to investigators.
“This whole area, as we’ve discussed earlier, is a residential area. No one wants this barbaric nonsense, these murderous acts going on in their backyard,” Dhoum said.
But despite two arrests, the community was still filled with fear.
“There were a lot of community members, especially parents, who approached me and my partner and said, ‘What are we going to do next? Our kids are scared,’” Const. Popalzai recalled.
“What can we do for them?”
Hope for the Community
It started slowly — but children began returning to play in Regent.
“I would go to the park myself,” Popalzai said. “Grabbing a basketball, start shooting some shots. And then a kid would see me, he would approach me. And then, we started a conversation and in came the second and third and the fourth kid.”
Popalzai also worked with the community and Toronto Police Services to provide children of Regent Park with new sneakers. He said that showing the community there were people out there to protect them encouraged the kids to come back out.
“It’s nice to see kids back now and there’s kids playing,” Popalzai said. “Unfortunately, we don’t have Thane Murray among us, but there’s a lot of people who have some really fond memories of him and that will never be lost or will never be taken away from us.”
Who are Jabreel Elmi and Rajahden Angus Campbell?
Though it’s been more than two years since Thane’s passing, investigators are still vigilant about finding the two remaining suspects who they believe are connected to his death.
Jabreel Elmi is described as standing at five feet seven inches and weighing around 180 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes as well as a lazy right eye.
Rajahden Angus Campbell, his alleged counterpart in the shooting, is described as standing around six feet and one inch tall and weighing around 174 pounds.
Both are described as armed and dangerous.
Be on the lookout
“For me, it’s not a matter of frustration. It’s a matter of seeing a case fully closed. And until he’s apprehended and brought before the court, I will not rest,” Dhoum said.
Murray’s father continues to worry about the two men who remain unapprehended.
“It affects me a lot, the fact that they’re still out there and knowing that someone else can be in the same situation as my son,” Hamilton said.
“Just to know that those people are out there, that this can happen to anybody else. If anybody’s out there that knows something, say something to get these people off the streets.”
To learn more about the hunt for Jabreel Elmi and Rajahden Angus Campbell, tune into Global TV’s brand-new series Crime Beat: Most Wanted an eight-part series covering the hunt for Canada’s Most Wanted premiering Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m. EST.