A 15-year old girl was killed yesterday in a volley of shots that had Boxing Day bargain-hunters scrambling for safety in one of Toronto's busiest shopping areas.
"I think it's a day that Toronto has finally lost its innocence," Toronto Police spokesman Det. Sgt. Savas Kyriacou said at a news conference Tuesday. "It was a tragic loss and a tragic day."
Bystanders fled the exchange of gunfire that also wounded six, emptying a crowded stretch of Yonge Street just north of the Eaton Centre. Three women and four men were caught in the crossfire.
"A number of those people who were injured were innocent bystanders who were out in the busiest day of the shopping year," Det. Sgt. Kyriacou said, adding that one of the male victims is still in critical condition.
Ten to 15 youths in their late teens and early twenties were involved in a dispute Monday prior to the shootings, he said. The two groups then began to exchange gunfire on the busy street.
Two people were arrested at a nearby subway station Monday, but investigators are still trying to determine if they played any role in the shootings. They have not been charged.
Politicians will respond, as they must, with the usual expressions of regret and resolve to bring the perpetrators to justice.
This being Toronto, they will also avoid blaming the perpetrators should they turn out to be Jamaican gangsters, or one of the other colourful tiles in our beloved multicultural mosaic.
And this will give Paul Martin another opportunity to tout his licenced handgun ban and put the victims' blood on Stephen Harper's hands.
David Miller will promise more community outreach programs while taking pains not to identify which community they will be reaching out to. Police chief Bill Blair will echo his civilian bosses' concerns, being the social worker in a policeman's uniform that he is.
Dalton McGuinty will say something completely irrelevant, and John Tory, as leader of Ontario's loyal opposition, will agree completely with him.
The usual impotent political response will only embolden the gangs to pull off more daytime downtown shootings, and take the fight to the rich white enclaves.
When the guns start going off in Forest Hill, Rosedale and the Annex, maybe the politicians will deal with the gang problem seriously.
Source: Globe and Mail