Veteran Toronto homicide detective Gary Giroux reflects on career, memorable cases before retirement
After 40 years with the Toronto Police Service, homicide Det. Sgt. Gary Giroux has decided it’s time to retire.
Giroux’s said one of his most memorable case was one he took on early in his career as a homicide detective. It was gruesome case about a serial rapist who was preying on women and targeted two sisters from Taiwan in Toronto’s north end.
The two women were in Canada to study English. In 2000, they were attacked by a man. He killed one of the sisters in a basement apartment. The murderer was found through a DNA evidence collected in a separate sexual assault incident.
“I can still to this day remember when the biologist called me about this scene-to-scene DNA link and her voice was shaking,” Giroux told Global News.
Stuart Cameron was arrested soon after and charged with second-degree murder.
“After about three hours of me with him, he confessed to what he had done. And just before the trial started… he pleaded to second-degree murder and a whole series of sex assaults. He got a 20-year sentence,” he said.
Giroux said it was a case that stuck with him all these years, adding he still keeps in touch with Cameron’s parole officer. Cameron’s case is set to go before the parole board in the near future.
“I made a promise to the family in Taiwan that I would follow it through,” said Giroux.
“When he comes up for parole, I want to know. I want to be notified, and I want to have input in relation to whether or not you think he is eligible to be released.”
Cameron’s case is one of 200 that Giroux has worked on in his two-decade career as a homicide detective. He described the hard work and dedication it takes to do a job like his, often being on-call for months at a time. Giroux said he has missed Christmas mornings, anniversaries, his children’s birthday parties and the list goes on.
“I said jokingly to my wife, the number of times that I’ve said ‘I got to go’ is a lot. And so the time is right for me now,” he said.
“The idea of retirement came over gradually. People say, ‘You’ll know, it’ll be a feeling, you’ll know when it happens,’ and I just know that it’s the right time for me.”
Giroux said he will use his new free time to spend more time with his family, adding his daughter is getting married in a few months and may move into a new home.
But Giroux isn’t completely walking away from police life. He said he would also come back if there are developments in the 2008 case of Oliver Martin and Dylan Ellis, two 25-year-old men who were gunned down in a car in downtown Toronto. The two victims weren’t known to police and it’s not known why they were targeted. The case remains unsolved.
“It’s one that really resonated with me. In fact, any of my unsolved files I would be back saying, ‘How can I help you? What do you need from me?’”
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Despite being in the homicide unit, Giroux also took on major, high profile investigations. He was assigned by then-Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair to look into allegations involving former Mayor Rob Ford.
“The Chief asked me to look into separate and private investigation … apart from (Project) Traveller with regards to information and interceptions that had been made during the global project that would suggest that the mayor was in company with known members of a criminal street gang and was consuming narcotics,” he said.
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“He was the sitting mayor. It was a big deal it was a necessary investigation I still maintain that because the chief knew, and I’ve said this before, that one day somebody from the media was going to say to him in a public forum what did you do about it. And he said you are going to be the one to do something about it.”
Meanwhile, Giroux has advice for whoever joins the homicide squad. He said the key to success as a detective in the unit is patience, being meticulous, and treating people with respect, professionalism and honesty.
“All those things I really believe in and I try to impart those things onto others and hope they’ll go forward with those,” Giroux said.
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