By JESSE GAULT
A 15-year-old boy has died and a 13-year-old boy is charged with his murder after a shooting in East York earlier this week.
The 15-year-old boy died after being shot in the underground parking garage of an apartment building in the Gamble and Pape avenues area late on the night of Wednesday, Jan. 19.
At a press conference outside of Toronto Police Headquarters on the morning of Friday, Jan. 21, police identified the victim of the shooting. Police also said at the press conference that a 13-year-old boy was arrested on Thursday, Jan. 20, and charged with second-degree murder in connection with the shooting. Both the victim and the accused cannot be identified under the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
(UPDATE AND EDITOR’S NOTE: Up until the afternoon of Thursday, Jan. 27, the family of the shooting victim had allowed his identity to be published. However, police said in a press release just after 2 p.m. on Jan. 27 that the family’s permission had been officially withdrawn and the identity of the victim can no longer be published under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The story you are now reading has been edited since it was originally posted to reflect this change regarding the identity of the victim.)
“Both families in this case are understandably devastated. We are supporting them in the best way that we can,” said Det. Sgt. Rob Choe of the Toronto Police homicide squad at the press conference.
Although no one else has been charged, the investigation into the 15-year-old’s death and what happened was early and ongoing, said Choe.
According to police, officers were called to the Pape and Gamble area at approximately 11:30 p.m. on Jan. 19 for reports of a shooting. Officers found the victim in an underground parking garage with life threatening injuries and he died at the scene, police said.
Two guns as well as ammunition were found at the scene, police said.
The teen is Toronto’s eighth homicide victim of 2022, and the year is not even three weeks old. He is also the seventh person in the city to be murdered as a result of a shooting.
Supt. Lauren Pogue, of Detective Operations, also spoke at Friday’s press conference and said Wednesday’s shooting was another in a “disturbing increase in gun violence” over the past few months.
“I wanted to take the time this morning to support our homicide investigators and to speak directly to the traumatic impact of this case. Any loss of life is traumatic, not just for the victims’ loved ones, but for our communities as well. In this case, the involvement of two teen boys is almost unimaginable, and as a community we should be devastated,” said Pogue.
“It is a sad and unfortunate example of the proliferation of handguns in our city. Our firearms investigators will be relentless in their efforts to determine the origin of these firearms involved. However, it has been our experience that the majority of firearms we are seizing in the city have come from across the border, the United States. We are doing what we can to stem this tide. And we hope to share more… with you about our efforts in the future, but it is only one part of this disturbing increase in gun violence we’ve seen over the past several months.”
Pogue said the gun violence is victimizing communities and young people.
““We cannot continue to have … young boys really victimized by this gun violence,” she said. “We are also proactively deploying resources to the communities most affected. We’re providing visible police presence, reassurance and building relationships with residents.”
Choe asked anyone with information on Wednesday night’s shooting to contact the homicide squad at 416-808-7400. People with information can also contact police anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 416-222-8477 or online at https://www.222tips.com