A 21-year-old man convicted of second-degree murder in the 2012 Toronto mass shooting that left two dead and more than a dozen injured was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday.
The man, who was 17 at the time of the shooting, was sentenced as an adult and won’t be eligible for parole for seven years.
Folorunso Owusu was responsible for firing the first shots during the community barbecue block party in Scarborough in July 2012.
Two people, 23-year-old Joshua Yasay and 14-year-old Shyanne Charles, were killed during the shootout. Twenty-three others were injured.
Yasay’s family, who were present throughout the legal proceedings, told reporters outside the downtown Toronto courthouse that they felt confident justice was served but the loss of Joshua is still being felt four years later.
“We’ve suffered permanently. We’re never going to get Joshua back,” Yasay’s sister Jennilyn said. “But we know that there is justice and we had faith in the justice system.”
Although the shooter who fired the shots that fatally struck Yasay is now behind bars, the suspect that killed Charles remains at large and her mother said the family is still seeking justice.
“I’m happy that Joshua’s family got justice but I’m still hurt my daughter’s killer is still out there,” an emotional Afifa Charles, Shyanne’s mother, told reporters on Wednesday.
“I want him to come forward. You know who you are. You know what you did. And people know who did it. They need to put themselves in my shoes and they need to realize that a 14-year-old girl got killed for no reason.”
Crown prosecutors had pushed for Owusu to be sentenced as an adult but the man’s lawyers said he should be sentenced as a youth and cited examples of his good behaviour while in custody.
“This is the biggest mass shooting that we’ve had in the city, so for someone to not be convicted as an adult in this situation, I don’t think the public would stand for it,” Det. Sgt. Peter Trimble said.
Two others involved in the shooting pleaded guilty to numerous charges and did not have their case go to trial.
Galloway Boys street gang member Nahom “Gifted” Tsegazab pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter and six counts of aggravated assault in 2014.
Shaquan “Bam Bam” Mesquito pleaded guilty in 2015 to four charges including counselling two people “to commit the indictable offence of murder which offence was not committed” as well as uttering threats and illegal firearm possession.
The incident – called an “unprecedented” episode of violence by Toronto police – stunned the country and rocked the community to its core.
Danzig Street turned into a hub of police activity in the immediate aftermath of the 2012 shooting.
Police have said the shooting on Danzig four years ago was triggered when members of the Galloway Boys, a local street gang who allegedly “took ownership” of the barbecue, turned away a member of the Malvern crew, a rival gang. That individual then allegedly returned to the gathering with a number of associates to confront the Galloway Boys, sparking the shootout.
-With a file from The Canadian Press