Victim identified in fatal hit-and-run on the Danforth that is now considered a homicide
Published Sunday, February 5, 2023 7:08AM EST
Last Updated Monday, February 6, 2023 9:53AM EST
Toronto police have identified the victim of a fatal hit-and-run on the Danforth early Sunday morning, which police say is now being treated as a homicide.
The collision happened shortly before 4 a.m. near Danforth and Cedarvale avenues, just east of Woodbine Avenue.
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Toronto police were called to the scene for reports of a person that had been struck by the driver of a vehicle.
Speaking with reporters at the scene, Duty Insp. Ryan Forde said the victim was standing near the sidewalk when they were hit.
The driver reportedly fled the scene westbound on Danforth Avenue in a dark-coloured SUV. The vehicle’s make or model are unknown at this time, Forde said.
The victim was taken to St. Michael’s Hospital at about 4:30 a.m. with life-threatening injuries. He was pronounced dead there a short time later.
The victim has been identified as 25-year-old Gabriel del Castillo Mullally, of Toronto.
Natasha Bilak witnessed the incident and told CP24 that she heard yelling outside of her nearby residence just before the pedestrian was struck.
She said, at that time, there was an altercation between a group of young adults and a man who she believes is in his late 20s or early 30s.
“There was a dispute which ended up with the man getting into his car and deliberately driving [his vehicle] into the crowd of young adults. They were able to get out of the way,” Bilak said.
She said the driver then made a U-turn on Danforth Avenue and drove towards the group a second time.
“He had seen a gap and basically hopped up on the curb [in his vehicle] and hit the one man,” she said, adding that screams from the group followed shortly after.
“I’ve never witnessed something like that before. It’s definitely really scary,” she said.
Bilak went on to say that she and her husband witnessed the driver attempt to enter the Rusty Nail Pub before the altercation unfolded. The pub was the site of a stabbing last summer that left a victim with serious injuries.
Beaches-East York Coun. Brad Bradford said the incident has shaken the community.
“(There’s) lots more questions that are need to be answered. And for the moment, a community that's just reeling with the impacts of violence and undermining our security and confidence here in the neighbourhood,” he said Sunday afternoon.
The Ward 19 representative noted that police are in the process of doing a thorough investigation to determine what exactly happened.
Toronto police are appealing to witnesses or anyone with video of the incident or area to come forward.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Toronto police at 416-808-5500 or 416-808-7400, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477 (TIPS) or www.222tips.com.