Toronto police say a shooting that left a person dead and another injured in the city’s east Friday afternoon was gang-related and targeted.
Police said emergency crews were called to the Wakunda Place and Parma Court area, off of O’Connor Drive and west of Victoria Park Avenue, before 2:30 p.m.
A spokesperson said officers received reports of multiple gunshots being fired and people running away from the scene. After police arrived, they found two people with gunshot wounds.
Det. Sgt. Ted Lioumanis told reporters Friday evening that 29-year-old Kevin Reddick died at the scene. Another man was taken to hospital by Toronto Paramedics with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.
“The deceased and the victim were just sitting out front of a parkette having some lunch, I believe, and the two suspects appeared and began to fire upon them,” Lioumanis said.
He said two male suspects wearing dark-coloured clothing were last seen leaving the area in a dark-coloured vehicle heading north on Victoria Park Avenue.
A woman, who only identified herself as Shelley, told Global News she’s Reddick aunt. She said he grew up in the area and was visiting friends.
“(He was) a good guy, raised properly, very respectful family — love the family to death — got a beautiful daughter,” Shelley told Global News.
“I just think it needs to stop. I’m tired of my people killing each other to be honest. There’s no more I can say.”
Veronica Roe, a neighbourhood resident of 20 years, demanded more help from Toronto Community Housing (TCH) officials moments after the shooting.
“We’ve had enough. I’m sick of attending funerals,” she told reporters.
Emma Cox, another area resident, pleaded for the suspects to come forward, saying justice is needed.
“Whoever did this, you have a sick mind. You’re sick in your stomach,” she said.
“I hope, I pray, that you have guilt and you just turn yourself in.”
In response to the concerns raised by residents, TCH President and CEO Kevin Marshman said his organization’s community safety unit is working with police.
“I am extremely concerned that another senseless act of gun violence on our property has resulted in a fatality and serious injury … Once Toronto police have released the scene, our staff will be in the community to assess tenant needs and coordinate supports,” he wrote in a statement to Global News.
“I remain convinced that addressing gun violence in our city requires all three levels of government working together with community partners and law enforcement agencies to find solutions. Toronto Community Housing remains committed to doing everything we can to contribute to this shared mission.”
The shooting comes hours after a news conference hosted by Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders. He said street gangs are largely to blame for the city’s recent spate of shootings, calling for help addressing the problem.
Saunders said a multi-faceted approach was needed to tackle the gang issue in the city, where the vast majority of shootings occur consistently in the same neighbourhoods year after year.
“There is going to be a change and a shift in what we need to do to have a stronger focus on street gangs,” Saunders said.
“We are not going to arrest our way out of this … it takes a multi-pronged approach to get this right.”
Saunders declined to provide details of the police plan, saying it would tip off gang members.
Police said there have been 22 people injured in 20 shootings over the past seven days, including five hurt at a nightclub shooting over the long weekend. Saunders said several arrests had been made in those cases and police were actively pursuing suspects.
Meanwhile, anyone with information is asked to call police at 416-808-7400 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.
“We’re here to assist in any way we can and … without their information it’s very hard for us to proceed,” Lioumanis said.
“We do what we can and we’ll continue to do what we can, but we do need the assistance of the public.”
— With files from The Canadian Press