Police appeal for tips in slaying of 15-year-old boy
Published Tuesday, February 19, 2013 7:00AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 19, 2013 8:53PM EST
The shooting death of another young boy in the GTA is being met with further calls for an end to gun violence and a united appeal for tips to solve the homicide.
In response to the killing of 15-year-old high school student Jarvis Montaque, homicide detectives, the mother of a homicide victim and others came together Tuesday to urge the community to end its silence and co-operate with the investigation.
“Witness participation is going to be absolutely paramount," said homicide squad Det.-Sgt. Gary Giroux. "Without the co-operation of the public … in this particular investigation, we will not be able to be successful and it will not move forward at all."
In his appeal, Giroux said he is confident that people in the Jamestown community know who killed Montaque, who is survived by his parents and 10 sisters.
Giroux believes Montaque was targeted when the teen was fatally shot at close range as he stood with a group of friends outside a Jamestown Crescent housing complex late Sunday night.
The lone male suspect was standing about three metres away from Montaque and his friends when the gunshot was fired, Giroux told reporters at a news conference.
Giroux said the people who were with Montaque at the time of the shooting don’t have any “baggage” and are co-operating with detectives.
Still, police haven't established a motive and are encountering some challenges in their investigation because Montaque did not know many people in the community, there is no evidence of a previous confrontation and he was known as a good kid.
Victim described as bright, quiet
According to Montaque's family and police, he was a bright, quiet Grade 10 student who was focused on his studies at Father Henry Carr Catholic Secondary School and was not involved in any trouble.
In a statement, one of Montaque’s sisters described him as a kind, loving and hard-working brother who loved music and dancing, and attended church every Sunday.
According to the statement read by police, Montaque always sought his family’s permission before going outside and he always went straight home from school.
“He came here for a better opportunity,” said Det. Joyce Schertzer as she read the family’s statement. “Jarvis was taken from us for no reason at all. The community needs to know that he was never a bad person.”
Montaque moved to Canada from Jamaica two years ago and still spent his summers on the Caribbean island.
Meanwhile, there is a limited description of the suspect. The shooter is described as a young, black male who was wearing dark clothing, Giroux said.
Anyone with information about the homicide is asked to call police at 416-808-7400 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).
Gun violence claims more lives
Just two months into 2013, Montaque is the fifth young male to die from gun violence in the GTA.
At the news conference, Habiba Adan, the mother of a 26-year-old man who was fatally shot in the same neighbourhood last fall, repeated her call for an end to the violence.
“We have been there (and) felt the pain that the Montaque family is going through,” Adan told reporters. “We hope that the senseless, cold-blooded murders of our sons and children stop and that these murderers will be apprehended and brought to justice as soon as possible.”
Adan urged witnesses or people with information to contact police.
“These grieving families deserve your honesty,” she said. “Please find the courage to speak out. A cowardly silence … is just as responsible for those killings as the people who pulled the trigger.”
Adan’s son, Warsame Ali, and 26-year-old Suleiman Ali were killed in a still-unsolved shooting that occurred Sept. 18, 2012. Despite sharing the same last name, the men were not related.
On Feb. 11, 15-year-old St. Aubyn Rodney died after he was shot in the stomach at an apartment block on Turf Grassway, near Jane Street and Finch Avenue West. Police charged a 17-year-old male with manslaughter.
One day earlier, Naveed Shahnawaz, 19, was shot during a fight in a parking lot on the CNE grounds. He died in a Toronto hospital last Friday.
On Jan. 23, nine-year-old Kesean Williams, a Grade 4 student, was killed when a gunman targeted the Brampton townhouse where his family lived.
In mid-January, 15-year-old Tyson Bailey was killed in a shooting at an apartment block on Whiteside Place, near River and Dundas streets.
Blair: Shootings senseless, greater witness protections needed
The recent incidents of gun violence in the city that have left a young men, several teens and even a nine-year-old boy dead are both “senseless” and “tragic” Toronto’s top cop said Tuesday.
Police Chief Bill Blair made the comments following a meeting of the Toronto Police Services Board, where he announced that he has committed extra human resources – including officers with both TAVIS and the Guns and Gangs Task Force – to help homicide detectives track down those responsible for the recent deaths.
“We are very concerned with the level of violence that we have witnessed in the past few weeks,” Blair said.
While the shootings are alarming, Blair said he was not prepared to say they represent a growing problem in the city.
“I don’t think we can necessarily extrapolate a trend from those events,” he said. “But each one is extremely concerning – and I think it reminds us of the urgency of the work that we do in our communities providing young people with better opportunities.”
Blair stressed that a big part of the solution in stemming gun-related crimes involved better protections through the court system for witnesses that come forward to offer evidence against those accused of violent crimes.
Ford ‘frustrated’ by recent violence
The recent gun-related violence is “frustrating” the city’s top politician said Tuesday.
“It’s frustrating,” Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said Tuesday. “I wish I had that magic solution. I don’t’ think anyone does.”
Ford said that he is doing his part to help solve the problem by putting money into programming – including the arts – to give the city’s youth creative outlets to help keep them out of trouble.
“At the end of the day, I can do so much,” he said. I’m doing it, helping the youth.”
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