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Residents uneasy after 2 people shot at same north Toronto intersection within 24 hrs

Click to play video: 'TTC bus stop shootings are believed to be connected: Toronto police'
TTC bus stop shootings are believed to be connected: Toronto police
WATCH ABOVE: TTC bus stop shootings are believed to be connected: Toronto police – Feb 18, 2024

Residents in a northwest Toronto neighbourhood said they were feeling uneasy Monday after two people were shot while waiting for buses at the same intersection less than a day apart.

The shootings, one of which was fatal, resulted in an increased police presence in the neighbourhood as investigators worked to determine if the attacks were targeted or random.

Anna Gualtieri said she often takes the same bus route in the area but will now think twice about it for short trips, adding she chose to walk instead when running errands on Sunday.

“I was on my way to go shopping and I was just scared,” said the 54-year-old. “I didn’t even want to leave my house, but because I was supposed to do something, that’s why I left to go do what I had to do.”

To see two attacks in the same spot in such a short time is “shocking,” she said.

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Kwame Boamah, who lives close to the intersection where the shootings took place, said it’s sad to see such violence, particularly in an area with so many families and children.

“When this happened, we started calling our friends: ‘Is it your son (who was shot)? Is it your daughter?” he said.

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Boamah said he’s worried about the effect the shootings might have on his kids, who are four and six years old, and who regularly play in the area that was earlier cordoned off by police for the investigation.

“It’s Family Day, and this is what we have to see,” he said.

Having police officers in the area has helped a lot, he said.

Police had ramped up their presence in the area of Jane Street and Driftwood Avenue as they worked to determine whether the two people who were shot were attacked at random.

Over the weekend, police said they couldn’t rule out that possibility even though the shootings bear traits they usually associate with gang-related activity.

No arrests have been made but police have said a stolen black vehicle is believed to be linked to both shootings.

The first incident took place around 6 p.m. Friday when a 16-year-old boy was waiting for the bus alone. Police said he was shot in the face and remains in critical condition.

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On Saturday afternoon, another person was shot while waiting for the bus alone, police said. In that case, investigators said a man was shot three times – twice in the stomach – and later died in hospital.

There were few visible signs of the shootings on Monday as people waited for buses and children played outside a nearby community centre where police had set up a command post.

A police community outreach team was also handing out cupcakes, doughnuts and coffee in the centre’s parking lot, which is across from the intersection where the shootings took place.

Supt. Andy Singh, the unit commander for 31 Division, said the command post would be in place for at least a week, with staff present around the clock.

“We want to make sure that people that are going in and about and enjoying their quality of life in this neighbourhood, that they’re able to do that,” he said.

Nabiha Abdul Karim, who doesn’t live in the area but goes there to visit a friend every once in a while, said she usually feels safer in the neighbourhood than downtown, because it’s less crowded and overall “calmer.”

“Right now, after finding out about the shootings, I feel very uncomfortable,” she said.

At the same time, Abdul Karim said she can’t avoid taking the bus to go to and from the neighbourhood. “I don’t have any other options other than the TTC right now,” she said.

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