Peel Regional Police say a “targeted,” brazen shooting at a Mississauga apartment complex that left a 17-year-old dead and five others injured is linked to music videos filmed at the property.
“This was an ambush-type attack. The intended targets appeared to be a group preparing to film a rap video. The rap video that was shot at this location on an earlier date … has motivated this attack,” Chief Chris McCord told reporters Sunday afternoon.
“There is information within that rap video that is challenging other people within the community and that’s what’s upset them.”
Emergency crews were called to an apartment complex on Darcel Avenue, near Goreway and Morning Star Drive, at 6:22 p.m. on Saturday with reports of a shooting near a parkette at one of the buildings.
Global News obtained an eight-second video that appears to have been filmed inside an apartment unit during the shooting. The view is partially obstructed, but approximately a couple of dozen shots being discharged can be heard. Halfway through the video, a person in dark-coloured clothing can be seen running away.
McCord said at least seven suspects armed with mostly semi-automatic handguns came to the scene on foot, wearing dark-coloured clothing and some wearing balaclavas.
“The attackers had complete disregard for public safety within our community … this was a targeted attack,” he said, noting at least 100 bullets were fired by the suspects.
McCord said many families were out enjoying the evening, adding that several people were lined up to buy treats from an ice cream truck.
“Those parents and children fled in the hail of bullets as they were fired into the complex,” he said.
The 17-year-old who died at the scene lived in the complex. McCord said the teen, who friends have identified as Jonathan Davis, doesn’t appear to be an intended target in the shooting.
“Our investigation leads us to believe that the young man who died last night was actually an innocent victim caught up in this indiscriminate attack,” he said.
A GoFundMe was created to help cover Davis’s funeral arrangements.
Five people were taken to hospital Saturday evening with various injuries. All but one of the victims were still in hospital as of Sunday afternoon. Four of the injured victims are between 13 and 17 years old. A 50-year-old woman also sustained serious injuries.
McCord said it’s unclear if any of the injured people were participating in the music video.
He said officers haven’t identified those involved in making the video as of yet, noting many people took off from the scene.
Meanwhile, he said police will remain at the scene for some time as officers gather evidence and to provide additional security.
“We have never witnessed anything like this in Mississauga or in this neighbourhood. This is not common within the city of Mississauga,” McCord said.
“This still remains one of the safest cities in Canada and will continue to remain so because we will make sure it is.”
WATCH: Support staff brought in to help grieving students after 17-year-old fatally shot in Mississauga
Carla Pereira, a spokesperson for the Peel District School Board, said in a statement that Davis was a Grade 12 student at Lincoln Alexander Secondary School. She said the board’s critical incident response team will be at the high school on Monday for students and staff.
“Our thoughts are with Jonathan’s family and friends, and with the other victims and their loved ones. We thank emergency services teams for their care and diligence, and for their partnership in helping to keep our communities safe,” she wrote.
“Support for staff and students in neighbouring schools in the Malton community will also be available as we understand that a violent incident like this can have a significant impact on those who live and work nearby.”
Mayor Bonnie Crombie attended the scene with McCord and said she was “shocked” and “saddened” by Saturday’s incident.
“I’m a mother, as you know. I’m the mayor. I was crushed to hear that there were individuals in our community, in our neighbourhoods, marring a beautiful evening with senseless—executing senseless violent crimes with semi-automatic weapons,” she said.
“You can see, I’m getting quite emotional about this.”
Crombie said she hasn’t spoken with the family of the teen who died yet, but added that “by all accounts, he was an outstanding young man.”
She called for increased guns and gangs funding from the provincial government — similar to money given to the City of Toronto.
“We know that this type of activity has no boundaries. They don’t respect city boundaries,” she said.
Crombie also called for the restoration of the community policing station at Westwood Mall in Malton, located a short distance away from the scene. She said the funding for the station, and others like it, was cut by the former police chief and police board members.
Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones issued a statement on Sunday in response to the shooting. She said the government is working “urgently” with police and lawyers “to stop gun violence from shattering more lives.”
“We are deeply saddened and outraged by the senseless violence that has left families and communities grieving needlessly,” she wrote.
“Our government recently doubled down on its commitment to stop the gun and gang violence that is preying on young people and threatening the well-being of law-abiding citizens in communities across Ontario. Our message is clear: the violence must end now.”
Jones said the provincial and federal governments are funding a multi-million-dollar plan that will fund, in part, an “intensive firearm bail team” aimed at supporting court-related hearing for those charged with gun-related offences in Peel Region. She also said a guns and gangs fund will support “projects with police and justice partners in Peel region and across the GTA.”
Federal party leaders also offered condolences after the shooting.
Meanwhile, McCord appealed for the driver of the ice cream truck and others present who haven’t spoken with police yet to contact investigators or Crime Stoppers anonymously. He also appealed for people in the area at the time of the attack to come forward with home surveillance or vehicle dash-cam video.
— With files from Morganne Campbell