Toronto police say a 39-year-old man has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder for two separate “random” murders of two men within about 48 hours of each other in the downtown core.
On April 7, at around 5 p.m., police said crews responded to Sherbourne Subway Station for reports of a shooting at the Glen Road entrance.
Police said 21-year-old Kartik Vasudev received medical attention by an off-duty paramedic for multiple gun shot wounds. He was rushed to hospital where he later died from his injuries.
Kartik was an international student from India studying marketing at Seneca College. A vigil was held for him at Nathan Phillips Square the following day.
Toronto Police Chief James Ramer addressed the media and said investigators believe Kartik was a complete stranger to the suspect.
“Unprovoked, this man shot Kartik multiples times killing him,” Ramer told reporters on Tuesday.
Two days later, on April 9 at around 6:55 p.m., police said they responded to another downtown shooting near Dundas and George streets.
Police said the suspect came up from behind the victim, who was walking home at the time, and opened fire. He was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The victim was identified by police as 35-year-old Elijah Eleazar Mahepath.
Investigators said both fatal shootings were “random” but they were able to make a link between them.
On Sunday night, Richard Jonathan Edwin of Toronto was arrested. He is facing two first-degree murder charges.
Ramer also said after a search warrant was executed for Edwin’s home, officers found several loaded firearms “on the floor next to him.”
Edwin has no prior criminal record and was lawfully in possession of the weapons, Ramer said.
Police said it is unclear if race was a factor in the fatal shootings as it appears there was no verbal interaction with the victims who are visible minorities.
“We’re not sure whether the shooter actually was able to gain face-to-face sightlines of either one of these victims,” Det. Sgt. Terry Browne from the homicide unit told reporters. “From what we saw, any interaction between the shooter and the victims was very, very quick and brief.”
“We can’t say for certainty whether in fact he would have been able to see their ethnicity,” Browne said.
Browne also said security surveillance video played a significant role in the investigation. He said the footage was able to track the suspect from the area where he resides to the area of the shooting and then back to his residence.
Global News spoke to Kartik’s father, Jitesh Vasudev, over Zoom from India.
Jitesh said the news of the quick arrest was a relief and that the accused “should get the punishment, which he deserves, to murder an innocent person.”
“This is the pain, actually, that he was murdered for no reason.”
“He was just walking there,” Jitesh said fighting back tears. “He didn’t know this was going to happen to him … He was brutally murdered.”
Jitesh said his son arrived in Canada just three months ago to start a new life. He said he expected that his son was going to one of the safest countries in the world.
Jitesh said Kartik’s body will be returned by plane on Friday, arriving in India on Saturday. He also said Kartik was one of two sons.