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5 teens injured in targeted shooting in northwest Toronto

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Oct 31st, 2019

Five teens are injured and three suspects remain at-large in what police are calling a targeted shooting that occurred in Toronto’s northwest end.

Toronto police were called to an apartment complex on Clearview Heights Road in the area of Trethewey Drive and Black Creek Drive just after 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Police said the victims were all in the hallway of the complex when three suspects showed up and two of them opened fire on the group.

Four people were transported to hospital, three of them via emergency run. Their injuries ranged from serious to critical.

Police said a fifth person showed up at a local hospital with a gunshot wound.

On Thursday, police said all five victims are expected to recover. One of the teens — a male — is still listed in critical condition but he is expected to survive.

Police said the victims, two females aged 16 and 17 and three males aged 16 to 18, were targeted.

“It was specific, that group was targeted by the suspects,” police Chief Mark Saunders said. “They came in and within a short period of time of coming into the building, they opened that door and fired directly at those people who were standing in the hallway.”

Police recovered more than 20 bullet casings at the scene and are asking the public’s help in locating the suspects, who fled the scene in a black sedan eastbound on Clearview Heights towards Trethewey.

“There is the concern of retribution and so if there is going to be any type of retribution, then that would add to our count and that is something that is concerning,” Saunders said.

“So that’s why we’re making this appeal to hope that we can apprehend these people before any future gun violence happens in our city.”

Ontario autism expert panel recommends some caps on services

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Oct 31st, 2019

Ontario’s autism program should emphasize early intervention but also include funding caps on services for children and youth to ensure it survives into the future, an expert panel recommended Wednesday.

The province’s Progressive Conservative government went back to the drawing board earlier this year after its original plan for autism services sparked waves of protests. One of the most contentious aspects of that plan was a service funding cap that families said offered too little money to provide meaningful amounts of therapy.

Panelists reluctantly included annual limits on the amount of service kids could receive in their report, describing those limits as unavoidable for the foreseeable future and calling them necessary to ensure the province’s autism program remains sustainable.

“We struggled with that,” said Laura Kirby-McIntosh, the president of the Ontario Autism Coalition who sat on the panel.

The caps envisioned by the panel would be a far cry from the previous, income-based maximum of $20,000 a year for kids under six and $5,000 per year until they were 18. But the panel recommended that the exact amounts should be determined later by an implementation committee and by a child’s care providers, Kirby-McIntosh said.

“What they gave was sub-clinical therapy amounts to everybody,” she said. “This puts the clinicians in the driver’s seat.”

Children, Community and Social Services Minister Todd Smith said the panel’s recommendations will provide a “strong foundation” for the new program. He has already promised the government’s next effort will be based on the needs of children and their families, and will come with a $600 million budget – nearly double the old funding envelope – but said he requires time to review the report before finalizing the program’s details.

“Every government over the last 30 years really have not quite landed in the right place when it comes to autism and that includes our government,” Smith said. “One of the commitments that we made was, let’s work directly with the community.”

The panel, which included parents, autistic adults, psychologists and behavioural analysts, recommends some time-limited early intervention for kids under six when they register for aid. Currently, children wait months or potentially years to qualify for full core services.

Smith said the early years are key, and the push for prompt intervention is one recommendation the government could enact quickly.

Lisa MacLeod, the previous minister responsible for the autism portfolio, was demoted after a disastrous roll-out of the government’s initial plan earlier this year. Members of the autism community said Smith has helped the relationship turn a corner.

The move took a page from the playbook of the previous Liberal government, which also shuffled ministers to put a friendly new face on a new autism program after protests forced it to backtrack on its plan.

Families had largely said they were happy with the Liberals’ second attempt, which allowed them to access any services their children needed on the government’s dime. But the wait list grew, and that meant some kids were waiting years to get in treatment.

The Progressive Conservative government justified its plan under MacLeod by repeatedly saying it needed to clear a backlog of 23,000 children on the wait list. But the panel said that evidence-based and clinically appropriate care should not be sacrificed at the expense of addressing the wait list.

The panel also recommended that:

– Kids who need it should receive short-term mental health services before they reach the top of the wait list for core services.

– Core services should include applied behaviour analysis, speech language pathology services, occupational therapy, mental health services, and technological aids.

– Service caps should be loosened once wait times have eased.

– An independent care co-ordinator should help families navigate services.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the report tells the government the same thing the official opposition was saying a year ago.

“We need a needs-based program,” she said. “That’s what families deserve, that’s what children deserve. Instead, the government cruelly ripped away services from families. They made things so bad. It was a horrifying thing to watch.”

Late goal by substitute Nick DeLeon sends Toronto FC to MLS Cup final

NEIL DAVIDSON, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Oct 31st, 2019

Substitute Nick DeLeon scored in the 78th minute as Toronto FC rallied to beat defending champion Atlanta United FC 2-1 Wednesday and advance to the MLS Cup final for the third time in four years.

DeLeon took a pass from Alejandro Pozuelo, pivoted at the edge of the penalty box to make room for his shot and curled the ball high into the Atlanta goal over a diving Brad Guzan. Atlanta, which had controlled most of the second half, was furious believing DeLeon had fouled a player in the buildup to the goal.

Atlanta pressed in the final minutes but Toronto held out for five nerve-wracking minutes of stoppage time with Quentin Westberg making a key reflex save at the near post to preserve the win. Guzan came up for the ensuing corner but Toronto cleared the danger.

Toronto advances to face the Seattle Sounders in the MLS Cup final Nov. 10, this time in the Pacific Northwest. Second-seeded Seattle upset league-leading Los Angeles FC 3-1 on Tuesday in the Western Conference final at Banc of California Stadium.

Toronto lost to the Sounders in a penalty shootout in 2016, avenging that loss with a 2-0 win in the 2017 championship game. Both matches were at BMO Field.

Julian Gressel scored in the fourth minute for Atlanta, which looked for an early knockdown in the matchup of last two MLS Cup winners. Westberg threw Toronto a lifeline when he saved a Josef Martinez penalty in the 11th minute, preventing the home side from doubling the lead.

Nicolas Benezet then scored three minutes later for Toronto to restore order.

The wild opening turned into a tense, cagey second half. Tied at 1-1, Atlanta dominated possession with Toronto willing to foul to snuff out the threats.

Wednesday’s game was played before an announced crowd of 44,055 under the dome at Mercedes-Benz Stadium with the retractable roof closed thanks to a downpour outside.

It proved to be a wild opening. Toronto stroked the ball around for the opening minutes from kickoff only to see things suddenly go south.

Ezequiel Barco opened up the Toronto defence with a seeing-eye diagonal ball that bypassed Josef Martinez and found Pity Martinez all alone with only Westberg to beat. With three Toronto defenders racing to catch up, Pity Martinez unselfishly sent the ball over to an unmarked Gressel for an easy tap-in.

It went from bad to worse when a penalty was awarded to Atlanta after Michael Bradley took down Pity Martinez, who had been sent in alone by Jeff Larentowicz. The penalty call survived a video review and then Westberg dove to his right and got a hand on the Josef Martinez spot kick. Bradley was cautioned on the play.

Toronto responded in the 14th minute when a fine long ball from centre back Laurent Ciman found Benezet cutting in on the left flank. The French winger slashed towards the edge of the penalty box and curled in a marvellous shot that beat a diving Guzan.

Atlanta had not allowed a goal in 419 post-season minutes at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Westberg made back-to-back fine saves in the 37th and 38th minutes, parrying a hard Gressel shot from a sharp angle before getting a hand to a curling long-range Pity Martinez effort.

TFC changed formation, shifting to a back three flanked by wingbacks, with Richie Laryea coming in for Tsubasa Endoh at the half. Atlanta controlled the game early in the second half with Toronto offering some hard-noise defence in response.

DeLeon came on in the 54th minute for Benezet as Toronto rang in the changes.

Still Atlanta came on with Josef Martinez hitting the side netting in the 58th minute. Westberg stopped Josef Martinez again with another fine save in the 66th minute, although the play was called for offside.

Patrick Mullins came in for the injured Auro in the 68th minute as Toronto coach Greg Vanney, wearing a scarf indoors perhaps for luck, used his last sub. Toronto reverted to a back four.

Toronto was without striker Jozy Altidore (quad) for the third playoff game in a row. The big man was deemed a game-time decision after arriving late in Atlanta because of a second MRI back home. Clearly the news was not good.

Centre back Omar Gonzalez, who missed the playoff opener against D.C. United, started on the bench for the second game in a row.

Still Toronto fielded the same starting lineup for the third straight time in the post-season.

The injury news was better for Atlanta, which had captain Michael Parkhurst back at the heart of its defence after dislocating his shoulder Oct. 19 against New England. Defender Miles Robinson (hamstring) remains out.

Toronto is now unbeaten in its last 13 games (7-0-6) with its last loss a 2-0 setback Aug. 3 at the New York Red Bulls. TFC has still never lost a playoff game outside of Canada.

Atlanta was unbeaten in its last four outings (3-0-1) and had lost just once in its last seven outings (5-1-1).

Atlanta had also won its last five home playoff games. And it had conceded just one goal in six home playoff games all-time.

TFC, which finished eight points behind Atlanta in the regular season, came into the game with a career 2-1-3 record against the Five Stripes but had never won at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (0-1-2).

Second-seeded Atlanta defeated No. 7 New England 1-0 and No. 3 Philadelphia 2-0 to reach the Eastern final. Fourth-seeded Toronto downed No. 5 D.C. United 5-1 after extra time and No. 1 NYCFC 2-1 on a stoppage-time penalty.

One dead, two others seriously injured in separate collisions

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Oct 31st, 2019

One man is dead and two women have been taken to hospital after three separate collisions involving pedestrians.

Police were called to the area near Birchmount Road and Lawrence Avenue around 8:15 p.m. to reports a man had been struck by a vehicle. A police officer attempted life-saving measures but the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

At around the same time, police responded to a call near McNicoll Avenue and McCowan Road where a woman suffered serious head injuries after being struck by a vehicle.

Police say around 9 p.m., another woman suffered life-threatening injuries after being struck on Ellesmere Road just east of Scarborough Golf Club Road.

Toronto city council votes to endorse province’s transit projects

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Oct 30th, 2019

Toronto city council has voted in favour of the proposed transit deal with the province which includes endorsing the Ontario Line.

As part of the proposed deal, the province would drop its plans to takeover the subway system. In return, city staff would have to support the province’s plan for major transit projects.

Only three councillors voted against the deal, Councillor Gord Perks, Josh Matlow and Kristyn Wong-Tam.

The agreement would secure an almost $30-billion investment in new transit for the city and the TTC would retain operations of the transit network.

Other details of the agreement include the province covering any cost overruns for the four priority transit projects which also include the three-stop Scarborough extension, the Eglinton West LRT and the Yonge North Subway extension. The costs the city incurred in planning the transit projects up to this point will also be covered by the province.

Mayor John Tory said in a statement that the deal is good for the city and is “consistent with the direction given by City Council a year ago when we were faced with a very challenging situation.”

As a Mayor who was elected to finally get on with building transit and who was elected on a promise to work with the other governments, I believe this is our very best way forward,” read the statement from Tory.

Premier Doug Ford announced the province’s plan for the Ontario Line in April, instead of the Downtown Relief Line that the city had been planning.

Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney and Ford released statements applauding council for adopting the plan.

“Our comprehensive program of priority subway projects will dramatically improve connectivity across the (Greater Toronto-Hamilton area) while also delivering significant relief to critical congestion,” Ford said in a statement.

“The people of Ontario deserve rapid, world-class transit services and our plan will deliver exactly that.”

Trial begins for Toronto police officer, brother accused in Dafonte Miller beating

NEWS STAFF AND THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Oct 30th, 2019

The trial of a Toronto police officer and his brother, accused of brutally beating a Whitby teen nearly three years ago, then trying to cover it up, began with the testimony of a Durham police officer who was called to investigate the incident.

Const. Michael Theriault and Christian Theriault are jointly charged with aggravated assault, and separately charged for attempting to obstruct justice, in connection with the incident in 2016.

Crown prosecutors allege the brothers saw Dafonte Miller, who was 19 at the time of the attack, walking in an area with his friends, chased him, assaulted him and continued to assault him after he briefly got away.

Durham Regional Police Const. Jennifer Bowler said she first saw Dafonte Miller face down on the ground with a white man restraining him, but was able to see him more clearly after the teen was pulled up.

“There was a quantity of blood coming from his left eye. It appeared to me to be a significant injury,” she told an Oshawa court.

“It made me a little queasy,” she said.

During her testimony, Bowler said she was dispatched to the outside of a home after three calls were made to 911 _ one by Miller, one by a resident, and one by a man reporting that he had caught someone breaking into cars.

She was tasked with photographing the area and anything that seemed relevant, including any injuries, the officer said.

Bowler said she took photos of Miller and of Christian Theriault’s hand, which had a cut, but that no other injuries were reported or visible. She told the brothers to get in touch if injuries appeared in the next few days but to her knowledge, they did not, she testified.

Under cross-examination, the officer said it was possible the brothers would have been in shock immediately after the incident, and would have seen a doctor rather than police if any injuries emerged later.

Among the other things Bowler saw and photographed at the scene were blood spots and droplets, a pair of black gloves, a metal pole, two cellphones and some change, she told the court.

The constable eventually went to take photographs of a truck at a nearby home after another man, this one in his 50s, said it was “entered as part of the incident,” she testified. Bowler took photos that showed the inside console of the truck was left open.

When she returned to the original scene, she noticed blood on the hood of a car in the driveway, and assumed the “tissue” came from Miller’s eye, she said.

After collecting items at the site, Bowler took them to a police station for processing, and noticed that some of them appeared to have blood on them, including the metal pole, she said.

The pole, roughly a metre long, was shown in court Tuesday.

Dafonte Miller suffered broken bones and such heavy damage to his left eye that it had to be removed.

The court also heard Tuesday the brothers told police they had caught Miller breaking into their car.

When Durham Regional police arrived at the scene, Miller was charged with theft as well as assault with a weapon. Those charges were eventually withdrawn.

Criminal charges against the brothers were not laid until seven months after the incident. Lawyers for Miller have previously said race was a factor in the alleged assault.

Man fatally shot on residential street in Georgetown

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Oct 30th, 2019

A homicide investigation is underway after a man was shot dead on a residential street in Georgetown.

Emergency crews were called to Monarch Drive, near 10 Side Road and Mountainview Road, around 11 p.m. Tuesday for reports of gunfire.

When paramedics arrived, they found the victim and pronounced him dead at the scene.

There has been no word on suspects.

Police are asking for anyone who may have witnessed the shooting, or has security or dashcam footage of the area at the time of the incident, to contact the homicide tip line at 905-825-4776.

2 injured after being shot in a home near Weston and Lawrence

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Oct 30th, 2019

Toronto police are searching for the gunman or gunmen after two people were shot inside a home.

It happened on Conron Place near Weston Road and Lawrence Avenue West early Wednesday morning.

A woman was rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries but is now listed in stable condition. A man was shot in the leg and is expected to recover.

It appears the suspect or suspects, who were wearing masks at the time, fired several shots into the home.

Two men were seen running from the area.

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