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Toronto police chief defends response time after murder scene left unattended for hours

Click to play video 'Saunders calls question on 911 response times ‘inflammatory’' Saunders calls question on 911 response times ‘inflammatory’
WATCH ABOVE: Discussing a massive anti-gang operation Thursday morning, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders became agitated when Global News reporter Catherine McDonald asked him about 911 response times – Jun 21, 2018

Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders is calling the response time to a call for an assault in progress which turned fatal in Parkdale earlier this month an isolated occurrence, adding he won’t let it define the service.

“The loss of life is a concern. I’m glad that we made the apprehension and we will look to see what we can do to better our response to any calls,” Saunders said on Thursday when asked about the dismal lag time.

“But to isolate and cherry pick and call and say that’s Toronto police, it’s inflammatory and wrong.”

READ MORE: Toronto police response time under fire after Parkdale murder scene left unattended

Global News reported on Friday that police were called to 103 West Lodge Ave. at 8:30 p.m. on June 13 for an assault in progress. Toronto Paramedics went to the scene and took the victim to hospital.

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But due to severe under-staffing, police sources told Global News there were no officers in 11 Division available to send to the crime scene. The sources said it was approximately 90 minutes before a cruiser could deployed to the radio call and by that time, uniformed officers went directly St. Joseph’s Health Centre after paramedics informed police the victim of the assault had succumbed to his injuries.

It was between two and three hours later that officers finally went to the scene. They were accompanied by paramedics, who showed officers where the deadly assault took place.

WATCH: Investigation underway into Toronto police response times for deadly assault in Parkdale. Catherine McDonald reports.

Click to play video 'Investigation underway into Toronto police response times for deadly assault in Parkdale' Investigation underway into Toronto police response times for deadly assault in Parkdale
Investigation underway into Toronto police response times for deadly assault in Parkdale – Jun 21, 2018

READ MORE: Toronto police union targets mayor, police officials in ad over staffing

The victim of the deadly beating has since been identified as 51-year-old Joseph Perron. On Tuesday, investigators arrested 42-year-old Raymond Moore and charged him with second-degree murder.

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Saunders defended the services response times to calls for service.

“If you want to take a call by call in isolation, I will outnumber you with what our response times are and I will continue to tremendously outnumber you with our response to calls for service,” he said.

READ MORE: Toronto police board approves hiring dozens of new 911 centre staff to address wait times

Saunders pointed to the Yonge Street van attack in April which left 10 people dead and injured 16 others.

“When you look at Finch and Yonge and within seven minutes we had an apprehension for mass casualties, that is a testament to what the norm is in the city of Toronto, he said.

As a part of the Toronto police modernization plan, Saunders said they need to explore why officers are responding to non-emergency calls like hydro wires down.

“When I’m looking at calls and I’m seeing us responding to things that we shouldn’t be doing, these are things that need to be explored,” he said.

The Toronto Police Association (TPA) has complained for months about the need to hire more uniformed officers to patrol city streets.

The union said the Toronto Police Service has lost 605 uniformed officers since the beginning of 2016 and only 20 new officers have been hired since then. However, the City is promising to hire an additional 180 officers by the end of the year.

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