Police renew appeal for tips in shooting of TTC worker
Joshua Freeman and Chris Kitching, cp24.com
Published Tuesday, February 26, 2013 6:57AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 26, 2013 4:07PM EST
The person suspected of shooting a TTC fare collector during an attempted robbery at Dupont Station is someone who would likely stand out, police said Tuesday.
Speaking at a news conference a year after the incident took place, police said there have been numerous tips and leads about the shooting, but they are still no closer to solving the case.
“This individual obviously had some kind of issue or was drawn to this subway location,” said Staff Insp. Mike Earl.
Investigators believe the person is responsible for two previous robberies at the same subway station.
“There are some puzzling features to this story,” Earl said. “It would probably be great for a crime feature down the road once we’re able to actually arrest this individual and figure out what’s in this individual’s mind.
“It’s puzzling that it’s the same location four months apart, three times in a row with no similar robberies anywhere else in the GTA. “
Police reiterated Tuesday they aren’t certain about the suspect’s gender because there have been conflicting descriptions from witnesses and surveillance video has not been conclusive.
The person was covering his or her face when the fare collector was shot Feb. 26, 2012 and when two fare collectors were robbed but not harmed in June and October of 2011.
In last year’s incident, the suspect demanded cash and pulled out a handgun, but the TTC worker did not hand over any money.
The suspect began to walk away, but turned around and fired three gunshots, striking the employee twice, police said.
The male employee suffered serious injuries.
In each case, the suspect wore similar clothing, had his or her face covered and was carrying a revolver in their left hand when he or she approached the fare collector and demanded money.
A white medical mask covered the person's face during the robbery in June 2011 and he or she wore a black balaclava during the hold-up last October.
Earl said that forensics work has revealed the suspect is shorter than previously believed, probably standing at no more than five-foot-two to five-foot-five as opposed to the previous description of five-foot-five to five-foot-nine. He said the person had a dumpy appearance, but was wearing a thick coat that makes it difficult to gauge his or her build.
TTC CEO Andy Byford also spoke at the news conference Tuesday and appealed for any witnesses to come forward.
“This person has got to be taken off the streets,” Byford said. “Someone out there knows who did this… We’re appealing to everyone out there today.”
Earl said police are particularly interested in speaking to one witness who pursued the suspect and may have seen him or her get into a car to flee.
The TTC is offering a $25,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person who wounded the collector.
“I never want to see this happen to a member of my staff again,” Byford said. “It’s unacceptable that people in the course of their public duty are shot at or assaulted in any way.”
He said he’s been meeting regularly with the fare collector, who is still off work. He said the man is recovering physically, but is still psychologically traumatized from the shooting.
After the shooting, the TTC reviewed its security measures and began stocking booths with limited amounts of cash.
After the first two robberies at Dupont Station, the TTC changed the positioning of surveillance cameras and installed silent alarms like the one that was activated after the shooting.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call police at 416-808-7350 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).
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