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'We had an active gunfight happening on the sidewalk:' Police release video of shooting that claimed life of Toronto rapper
Published Thursday, May 28, 2020 12:09PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 29, 2020 8:38PM EDT
Police have released video footage of a deadly daylight “gun fight” in Toronto’s Entertainment District that claimed the life of an up-and-coming Toronto rapper and sent two other people to hospital.
Surveillance videos released by investigators on Thursday showed exactly how the shooting unfolded near King and Peter streets at around 4 p.m. on Tuesday.
In the videos, Dimarjio Jenkins, a 21-year-old rapper who is known by his friends and fans as ‘Houdini,’ is seen walking with three other individuals, including a 15-year-old boy, along Blue Jays Way.
Det.-Sgt. Andy Singh said he believes a group of suspects were “lying in wait” in a blue Volkswagen Tiguan, which was parked along the street.
In the video, Jenkins is seen passing by the vehicle and as he goes to cross the street, the driver of the Tiguan makes a U-Turn.
A lone gunman exits the passenger’s side of the Tiguan and opens fire on Jenkins.
In response, police said, two of the victim’s friends, including the teenage boy, pull out handguns and return fire.
One of the shooters is seen in the video firing a handgun with a “high-capacity” magazine capable of carrying 30 rounds.
“We had an active gunfight happening on the sidewalk of Blue Jays Way,” Singh said at a news conference on Thursday, adding that it was a beautiful day and many people were on the street at the time.
“A lot of people’s lives could have been put in jeopardy because of what transpired.”
Six-year-old boy was 'in the line of gunfire'
Singh said a six-year-old boy and his mother, who were in the process of loading up their vehicle, narrowly avoided being struck by the gunfire.
“The little boy was exactly in the line of gunfire when it first started,” Singh said.
At one point, the child can be seen ducking into a nearby vestibule to shield himself from the gunshots.
A total of 23 rounds were fired during the exchange of gunfire, which resulted in Jenkins, the 15-year-old boy, and a 27-year-old female bystander sustaining gunshot wounds.
When the shots cease, Jenkins is seen in the video heading into a nearby alley, where witnesses say he collapsed.
All three of the injured victims were rushed to hospital for treatment but Jenkins was pronounced dead a short time later.
The teen and the 27-year-old woman are expected to recover from their injuries, police said.
"She was struck by a stray bullet, (a) complete bystander," Singh said. "She sustained a single gunshot wound. Luckily that gunshot wound did not do great damage and she is expected to make a full recovery."
The suspects fled the area in the Tiguan, a rental vehicle that was later found torched in York Region, Singh said.
He added that police believe the suspects were in possession of the vehicle for about a month.
Two handguns were recovered by police at the scene but investigators have not yet located the weapon used by the gunman who initiated the shooting.
Police have not yet identified the suspect who shot at Jenkins and his friends.
Investigators said they are also trying to identify the man who fired the high-capacity magazine.
Centrefire handguns in Canada are limited to carrying 10 rounds at a time and possession of such a magazine is a criminal offence.
"He quite clearly has no regard for human life (and) was discharging a high-capacity magazine in a completely public area with family around," Singh said.
The 15-year-old boy, who cannot be identified under the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, is also facing gun-related charges for his role in the shootout, police said.
Investigators have not yet determined a motive for the shooting and said it is too early to tell whether the incident is gang-related.
"We are aware of the gangs that are out there. There are many gangs in the city that have conflicts," Singh said. "We are looking at that."
Singh said he believes Jenkins, who was staying at an Airbnb not far from the crime scene, was the intended target of the shooting.
"From the scene evidence and from what we have seen, it is a targeted shooting. I believe Mr. Jenkins was the target," he said.
Police are urging anyone with information about the case to reach out to investigators.
"When individuals decide to come downtown to the largest city in the country during rush hour and have no care in the world in killing anyone in their way, (it) is beyond comprehension. These individuals should not be on the street," Police Chief Mark Saunders said Thursday.
"The public, especially Torontonians, deserve better. I am appealing that we as a collective group once again not let these individuals get away with what they have done or what they almost did."