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Woman strangled, two men stabbed in Scarborough crossbow homicides

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Aug 30th, 2016

Police updated the media with the latest in their investigation on a triple-homicide in Scarborough last Thursday.

Det. Sgt. Mike Carbone announced today that autopsies on the victims revealed two men were killed by cross bow-related injuries to the neck and a woman died of strangulation.

One man suffered a cross-bow bolt stab wound to the neck and a second man suffered a single arrowhead stab wound to the neck.

Police said an injured fourth person — a 35-year-old man — was taken into custody, but few other details of what happened released.

The victims were found in the driveway of a bungalow by officers who responded to a stabbing report at approximately 1 p.m.

Carbone said the homicide unit is requesting anyone who may have come in contact with Ryan between 7:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. on August 26 to contact them immediately.

“We’re looking to speak to any witnesses who may have seen this individual in and around that time,” Carbone said.

Brett Ryan, 35, of Toronto, will appear in court later on Friday. The names of the victims cannot be reported due to a publication ban.

The three victims — two men and a woman — were pronounced dead at the scene, police said. A crossbow was found nearby on the floor.

“When officers arrived, they found that person and two others suffering from injuries from what we believe to be a crossbow bolt,” Hopkinson said.

Police also spotted Ryan on the driveway while swarming the scene.

About four hours after the incident, police said there was a link between the deaths and a suspicious package found in downtown Toronto. They said the downtown scene, which was near a building housing a daycare, was declared safe by 5 p.m.

The building was identified on Monday as a complex with an apartment belonging to Ryan.

In the east-end neighbourhood of Scarborough, however, streets remained blocked off Thursday evening as police continued to investigate.

Vijaya Cruz, whose house backs on to the bungalow where the incident is believed to have taken place, said she was home with her husband Thursday afternoon when he heard a commotion.

“My husband said he heard some screaming, someone was screaming there,” she said. “Then he said he heard ‘bang, bang, bang’ noise, and then someone was saying ‘calm down.’”

Cruz said she soon saw the flashing lights of a fire truck which was among the emergency crews that responded to the scene. Police later knocked on her door and told her three people had died in an incident involving a crossbow.

Cruz said she had seen a couple in the bungalow’s backyard on occasion, but said she didn’t know much about them.

“I see them working in the garden, a man and a woman, I see them with a wheelbarrow, cleaning up the yard,” she said. “They don’t talk.”

Faiza Siddiqui, who lives on an adjoining street next to a park, said the incident was disturbing.

“It’s scary because this park is always full with kids,” she said. “You don’t hear about people being killed by crossbows, especially in the city. I don’t know why you would need that in the city, have it around the house.”

Sadiya Haque, who also lives nearby, added that the neighbourhood was typically a tranquil one, with many seniors living on the street where the incident took place.

Dale Lounsbury, who sells crossbows at a sporting goods store in Waterloo, Ont., and owns one himself, said they can be dangerous due to their power and accuracy. But they are not suited to firing multiple shots in quick succession, he said.

“Crossbows are not a rapid-fire instrument at all,” Lounsbury said. “I can probably fire two shots a minute, maybe three.”

Unlike guns, buying a crossbow does not require a licence.

In December 2010, a man fired a bolt into his father’s back at a Toronto public library branch in another crossbow incident that captured the city’s attention. In that case, Zhou Fang then crushed his 52-year-old father’s skull with a hammer.

Fang was initially charged with first-degree murder but the prosecution accepted a plea of second-degree murder after considering that he was the victim of long-term abuse at the hands of his father.

He was sentenced to life in prison in 2012.

— With files from Diana Mehta and Nicole Thompson of the Canadian Press


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