Residents in north Etobicoke say they live in fear over outbreak of gun violence
Barrington Macpherson and his wife Sharon Edwards are packing boxes in their Mount Olive Drive townhouse.
Macpherson was the innocent victim of a drive by shooting in January 2017 and this past weekend, one of their neighbours was shot to death, just a few hundred metres from their back door of their home near Kipling and Finch Ave.
“We’re not in a third world country. To be living like this, we’re at siege, we can’t go outside,” she said, referring to the rash of gun violence that recently took the life of 31-year-old Dwayne Anthony Vidal.
Toronto police said Vidal was coming home at around 5:45 p.m. on Saturday when he was shot in the chest while walking in the courtyard of his townhouse at 17 Mount Olive Dr.
Vidal, a father of three, was rushed to hospital by paramedics with a police escort. However, he later succumbed to his injuries. Officers have yet to make an arrest in the case.
Macpherson recalls the evening of Jan. 2, 2017, when he was shot twice, once in each foot. The 58-year-old said he was taking his garbage to the curb when he heard a car come to a screeching halt behind him.
He said he looked back and saw a black car with two young men inside. Macpherson said they had their faces covered. Then he said he saw two guns as bullets were fired.
“Eighteen shots, I have to run of my life,” Macpherson recalled while pointing to his feet that were each hit as he tried to flee.
“I’m lucky still. I have my life. I give God thanks for that.”
But Macpherson’s wife, Sharon Edwards, said she is angry about the state of affairs at the Toronto Community Housing complex where the couple lives.
“It’s very barbaric. It’s very heartbreaking and very disappointing because we’re not living in a third world country,” Edwards said.
“We have the right to go wherever we choose to go, yet still we can’t go outside because my husband was walking along here just to put out some garbage and two guys from nowhere just drove up with masks on their face and started to fire shots at him.”
No one was ever arrested in connection with Macpherson’s shooting.
He said the injuries have left him unable to work as an upholsterer. Macpherson said he has arthritis in his feet and that his doctor told him he will have a limp for the rest of his life.
Pastor Keaton Austin from the Abundant Life Assembly Church spends time in the community helping the residents affected by the violence and mentoring youth.
He said residents are paralyzed in fear.
“How many more people, innocently working a 9-to-5 job, are going to get killed?” Austin said, adding many residents won’t leave their home after 5 p.m. fearing they could be shot
Toronto Police Supt. Ron Taverner, the officer in charge of 23 division which oversees the area where Mount Olive Drive is located, said he understands residents’ concerns.
Taverner told Global News the housing complex is a priority neighbourhood and said police are trying to get more officers out to patrol.
“Unfortunately, we can’t be there 24-7,” he added.
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.