Toronto man charged after two young woman shot dead at birthday party

TORONTO — A Toronto man has now been arrested in connection with a fatal shooting at a party in Fort Erie that left two young women dead, Niagara Regional Police announced Thursday.

Police say 20-year-old Windsor resident Juliana Pannunzio and 18-year-old Toronto resident Christine Crooks were shot and killed at a birthday party at a short-term rental in Fort Erie on Jan. 19, 2021.

Police previously released video surveillance images of the party in an attempt to identify some of the unknown guests who attended the gathering. Earlier this year, a $100,0000 reward was also offered for information leading to the arrests of the perpetrator.

On Thursday, investigators confirmed that with the assistance of the Toronto Police Service, 22-year-old Christopher Lucas, also known as ‘El Plaga,’ was arrested and charged in connection with the deadly incident.

He faces two counts of first-degree murder and will appear for a video bail hearing in St. Catharines today.

“The Niagara Regional Police Service would like to thank the Pannunzio and Crooks families for their patience and understanding during this lengthy investigation,” a news release issued by the police service read.

“Police would also like to the thank members of the public for their cooperation and assistance.”

-With files from CTV Toronto’s Beth Macdonell and Abby Neufeld

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