Victim of weekend shooting ID’d, Toronto mayor calls gun violence ‘extremely disturbing’

An aspiring musician was one of the victims of a series of shootings on Father’s Day over the weekend that the city’s mayor is calling “extremely disturbing.”

Police say they are investigating a total of six separate shootings — which left two men dead and two teen boys with critical injuries — that took place throughout the city between Friday and Sunday. 

Eleven people were shot in total over the weekend, including two incidents that are now being investigated as homicides, police said.

Investigators have identified the victim of a shooting on Sunday in the area of Lotherton Pathway and Caledonia Road, south of Lawrence Avenue West, as 24-year-old Toronto man Jaron Williams.

Williams’ father who did not want to be identified, told CBC News his son was an aspiring musician and “beacon of light.”

He said the family was in the area where the shooting happened, for Father’s Day celebrations.

Dozens of people stopped by the area where a memorial was set up on Monday, placing flowers and lighting candles to pay their respects.

Dozens of people dropped by a memorial setup with flowers and candles in the area where the shooting took place on Father’s Day. (Dean Gariepy/CBC)

Police said Monday that four suspects were seen fleeing the area immediately after the shooting in a vehicle described as a 2010 to 2015 beige or champagne-coloured Chevrolet Equinox.

Investigators say they are looking into “potential links” between the fatal shooting and another shooting that occurred only minutes before in the Amaranth Court and Flemington Road area, which left a 43-year-old man hospitalized with gunshot wounds. Police say he is in serious but stable condition.

Toronto police Supt. Steven Watts said during a press conference Monday there is no “significant danger” to the public at this time. After the violent weekend, Mayor John Tory took to Twitter saying he will “continue to support police — including our guns and gangs task force.

“Any gun violence in our city is unacceptable and the fact there were several shootings in our city this weekend including one where two young boys were victims is extremely disturbing,” Tory said in a series of tweets Monday morning.

6 shootings throughout the city

Police say the first shooting over the weekend took place in the city’s northwest at around 10:40 p.m. Friday, leaving one man dead and another with serious injuries. 

A few hours later at around 3:20 a.m. Saturday, a second incident occurred where a man with multiple gunshot wounds walked into a 7-Eleven convenience store in the north end of the city.

Then later on Saturday afternoon, police say two teen boys aged 15 and 17 were shot multiple times while near a playground in the west end. Both teens suffered serious injuries and were rushed to hospital, police said, but are expected to survive.

On Sunday afternoon, police say two teen boys aged 15 and 17 were shot multiple times and seriously injured while near a playground in the west end near the area of Humber Boulevard and Alliance Avenue. (CBC)

Then on Sunday afternoon at around 4:17 p.m., police say a man in north Toronto was taken to hospital after suffering multiple gunshot wounds. He is now in non-life-threatening condition.

Only minutes later, Williams was shot and killed.

A sixth shooting took place around 8 p.m. Sunday, at what police are calling an “unsanctioned car meet” in a parking lot near McCowan Road and Milner Avenue just north of Highway 401.

The Toronto police union called for better funded police services and lamented the “untold trauma” such incidents leave behind, for families, friends, witnesses and first responders.

“This level of violence has an inexplicable toll on everyone involved,” the Toronto Police Association Board said Monday in a statement on the weekend shootings.

“Our communities want a regular police presence that doesn’t ebb and flow with crimes rates.”

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