Toronto police say a 12-year-old boy who was shot in a hail of gunfire at a residential complex over the weekend has died from his injuries.
Police said the boy, who was walking with his mother during the day at the time of the shooting, was an innocent bystander.
Officers were called to Stong Court, north of Jane Street and Finch Avenue, at 2:22 p.m. Saturday for multiple reports of the sound of gunshots.
Police at the time said two vehicles were in a parking lot when two occupants from one car got out and “ran towards the second vehicle and started firing.”
Investigators said the vehicle that was shot at had five people inside, three of whom were hit. All have since been released from hospital.
The boy was rushed to hospital in life-threatening condition after being hit by a stray bullet.
Two suspects were identified by the gun and gangs unit and were arrested when they left a Canadian Tire Store at Bay and Dundas streets Monday at around 5 p.m.
Rashawn Chambers, 24, and Jahwayne Smart, 25, were both arrested and are charged with multiple offences, including attempted murder and aggravated assault.
As a result of the 12-year-old boy’s death, it was announced the two suspects were going to face upgraded charges of first-degree murder.
“This investigation has shown us that the two accused had planned to carry out murder,” Homicide Squad Det. Sgt. Keri Fernandes told reporters Thursday afternoon.
She explained that although the 12-year-old victim was not the intended target, the first-degree murder charge still stands because “he was hit as these men were attempting to carry out their plan to murder somebody.”
Fernandes said CCTV camera footage was also key in the investigation.
Investigators also said the suspects charged may also have been involved in two shootings prior to Saturday’s — one that occurred in Toronto on Nov. 4 and another in Brantford on Nov. 7 at 12:30 a.m. just hours before the fatal shooting in Toronto.
Fernandes said the boy’s name will not be released at the family’s request.
“They’ve lost a son.”
Supt. Ron Taverner, who heads up 31 Division, called the shooting “an absolute tragedy” for the entire community.
“It’s already fragile at best,” Taverner continued.
He said police are aware there is outrage in the community over the brazen daylight shooting. Taverner said there will be a continued high visible presence of officers in the area.
“It’s very disturbing when we have good people in these areas that are being just terrorized by the gun violence that’s taken place.”
On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about measures the federal government is taking to strengthen gun control after the 12-year-old boy’s death.
Trudeau said, “We will move forward on that and we have legislation coming soon” when it comes to more rules and restrictions.
“Obviously our hearts go out to families who are victims of gun violence across the country and particularly in Toronto where we’ve seen too many tragedies like this,” he said.
— With files from Jessica Patton and Ryan Rocca