Man charged in connection with drive-by shooting in Toronto that injured 5, say police

Toronto police said on April 16 at around 1 a.m., officers received a report of a shooting in the Markham Road and Lawrence Avenue East area. Phil Fraboni / Global News

A 20-year-old man has been charged in connection with a shooting that left five people injured in Toronto earlier this year, police say.

Toronto police said on April 16 at around 1 a.m., officers received a report of a shooting in the Markham Road and Lawrence Avenue East area.

Police said a group of people had just finished their evening prayers and had gathered in a plaza parking lot to decide where to get food.

Officers said that’s when a person in a vehicle allegedly drove by the group.

According to police, shots were fired from the vehicle.

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Five men suffered gunshot wounds and were treated for serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

On April 22, police said the investigation was still “active,” adding that there was “no evidence” at that time “to suggest that this incident was hate motivated.”

The Scarborough Muslim Association also said in a statement at the time that they did not “have reason to believe” the incident was hate motivated.

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“We believe it’s absolutely essential the suspect(s) be apprehended before we can begin to heal as a community,” the statement read.

Police also released images of a suspect vehicle — a dark blue, four-door sedan.

Officers said the vehicle had been seen the day of the shooting on Hiscock Boulevard, and was seen heading northbound on Markham Road just after the incident.

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Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Toronto police Supt. Steve Watts said after an extensive investigation, 20-year-old Muhammad Ashan Naseer was arrested on Sept. 5.

He has been charged with several offences including five counts of attempted murder; discharging a firearm with the intent to wound, endanger life; and two counts of possessing a restricted or prohibited firearm without holding a licence and registration certificate.

Police said the accused is being held in custody and is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 13.

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Watts said several investigative techniques were used in this case, as officers had “very little information to go on,” adding that investigators received a “grainy video of a dark blue vehicle,” from a nearby A&W restaurant.

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Watts said at the time of the arrest, the accused was allegedly in possession of a loaded firearm.

A search warrant was also executed at Naseer’s address and vehicle, Watts said.

Watts told reporters that investigators believe this was “not a random shooting,” and said Naseer was known to police.

“It was absolutely a targeted shooting,” he said. “I’m just not going to comment on what his motive for targeting those particular people were.”

However, investigators still do not believe this was a hate-motivated attack.

“We have no evidence to suggest this was anything hate motivated at those particular individuals,” Watts said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers.

– with files from Global News’ Isaac Callan

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