A man who was fatally shot while driving in the city’s Mount Dennis neighbourhood on Wednesday night has been identified as 33-year-old Toronto resident Abdikani Ishmail.
Police say that Ishmail was the sole occupant of a white Jeep Cherokee and was headed eastbound on Weston Road west of Jane Street just after 9 p.m. when a suspect vehicle pulled up alongside him and fired multiple shots into his vehicle.
Ishmail was struck by at least one of those bullets, police say. His vehicle then left the roadway, hit a tree and came to a stop on the east side of Weston Road. Ishmail was subsequently rushed to hospital in life-threatening condition but later succumbed to his injuries.
On Thursday morning, police towed his jeep away from the scene for further investigation. It had at least five visible bullet holes in the passenger side, as well as a blown-out window.
“We believe it was a targeted shooting. I don’t believe this was a random act but it is still under investigation and I am not in a position to fully confirm that,” Det. Sgt. Brandon Price told reporters on Thursday afternoon. “We are certainly looking at all possibilities at this point.”
Price said that police do not believe the suspect vehicle “was lying in wait” and are confident that it was also headed eastbound at the time of the shooting.
As for whether the victim was aware that he was being followed, Price said it is impossible to know at this point.
He said that while the area where the shooting took place is “isolated” with a vacant lot to the south and a warehouse to the north, the suspect or suspects would have ended up going through a busy intersection at Weston Road and Jane Street as they fled the scene.
He said that officers are currently canvassing the businesses in that area in the hopes of locating possible surveillance camera footage.
“We are hoping that there is more footage there and we are currently investigating that,” he said.
Second homicide in area this week
The area where the shooting took place is a short drive away from a parking lot near Highway 401 and Weston Road where 61-year-old Minh Le was fatally shot on Monday night.
Price said that investigators are looking into whether the two recent homicides could be connected but he said that it is “still quite early to be able to say anything like that.
Meanwhile, residents in the area are expressing concern about what they see as an uptick in violence.
“People in this part of the community, and other communities, they feel like they’re in a prison,” Reverend Delroy Sherman, who works in the community, told CTV News Toronto on Thursday. “They want to be outside with their grandchildren and their children having fun sitting out – it’s summertime now – and yet they told me they have to go inside the house. They don’t know if a stray bullet is going to come through their windows.”