Man killed in Eaton Centre shooting
Police close off an area at the Toronto Eaton Centre shopping mall in Toronto. One man died after a single shooter fired a gun in a crowded food court on Saturday. Photo:Mark Blinch / Reuters
Jun 5, 2012
The victim and the alleged perpetrator of Saturday’s shooting at Toronto’s Eaton Centre, both members of the same gang, were involved in a bloody altercation earlier this year but with their roles reversed, according to reports.
Christopher Husbands, now charged with murder, was allegedly tied up, robbed and stabbed in February by a group of men that included shooting victim Ahmed Hassan.
Husbands, 23, faces one charge of first-degree murder for the killing of Hassan, 24, and six counts of attempted murder after the shooting.
The alleged stabbing, which has not been confirmed by police, took place on Feb. 28 in an empty apartment within Regent Park, Toronto’s largest social housing project.
Investigators maintain the motivation behind the Saturday shooting was “personal” and not related to gang-activity.
“There is no evidence of this being gang-related,” said Det. Sgt. Borg, the lead investigator. “I think they just came across each other, unfortunately, in a very bad location.”
The deceased, Hassan, faced multiple charges at the time of his death, including possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime and obstructing a police officer.
The charges were related to activity in Fort McMurray, Alta., where there are strong links to Toronto gangs.
Somali-Canadian community members told the National Post that there’s a strong connection between Toronto and the oil patch, where many young Somali men have travelled for work. After 2005, when the economy slumped, many of those job-seekers separated from their families and turned to gang activities, leading to a spike in homicides in the community.
Since 2006, more than 34 Canadian-Somali men have been killed in Alberta.
Police say Husbands was on house arrest for a previous charge at the time of the attack. He turned himself in to police early Monday morning.
Those who were present inside the Eaton Centre’s food court Saturday evening recalled a chaotic scene as a man began firing bullets, spurring a stampede to the exits. A pregnant woman was trampled and went into labour, police said, but she has since recovered.
Two of the six gunshot victims remained in serious condition, including the 23-year-old man and alleged gang associate, who was with the deceased at the food court on Saturday. He was shot in the neck and abdomen multiple times.
Police are still appealing to the public for information and video or photographs. Mayor Rob Ford and senior police brass continued to stress that Toronto is a safe city.
Source: National Post