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Police release photo of vehicle involved in fatal gang shooting

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Aug 15th, 2019

Toronto police have released an image of a vehicle believed to be involved in a fatal gang shooting.

Police said they responded to numerous 9-1-1 calls about a shooting at 90 Parma Court west of Victoria Park Avenue around 2:15 p.m. on Friday, August 9, 2019.

One person died at the scene while another victim was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

“Based on our initial investigation so far, we can say that this is a street gang-related shooting and we believe that the two individuals who were shot … were targeted,” Insp. Jim Gotell said at the time.

The victim has been identified as Kevin Reddick, 29, of Toronto.

The next day police located the vehicle believed to be used in the homicide. It was abandoned and on fire at 50 Woodend Place in Vaughan.

The vehicle is described as a black, four-door 2014 Audi SQ5 with tinted windows.

If you know anything, contact Toronto police.

Join the conversation.

Man seriously injured after hit-and-run at The Junction

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Aug 15th, 2019

A man was seriously injured after being hit by a pickup truck on Wednesday evening in The Junction area of the city.

Paramedics were called to a collision in the Dundas Street and Indian Road Crescent area around 5 p.m.

Police say a man was found lying on the ground in a laneway behind a building. They say a pickup truck ran over him and he suffered life-threatening injuries.

The truck and driver fled the scene.

A description of the truck is not available at this time.

Alcohol producing still caused Brampton house explosion that injured 1-year-old child

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Aug 15th, 2019

A 57-year-old man has been charged after a one-year-old child and three adults were injured in an explosion at a Brampton residence.

Police say it happened just before 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in the area of Humberwest Parkway and Cottrelle Boulevard.

The child suffered second-degree burns and was taken to hospital in serious condition.

The three adults had minor burns and smoke inhalation. They were taken to hospital, where they remained overnight as a precaution.

Investigators determined that the fire was caused by an alcohol producing still, located in the basement of the home.

The accused, who has not been named by police, has been charged with arson by negligence.

Vehicle slams into house causing explosion in London, Ont.

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Aug 15th, 2019

Police in southwestern Ontario say they are investigating after a vehicle slammed into a home, causing a major explosion.

London police Const. Shayna Boland says the crash happened in the city Wednesday just before 11 p.m.

She says investigators believe the vehicle also hit a gas line that caused the explosion.

Boland says two officers were sent to hospital with minor injuries and two fire fighters were also in hospital being assessed.

Police say houses on the street, as well as those in a one-block radius, were evacuated.

They say the massive fire is still active and has spread to several houses.

Boland says a female was taken into custody.

She says investigators expect to be on scene for several days.

Flights resuming at Hong Kong airport after protest chaos

KATIE TAM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Wednesday, Aug 14th, 2019

HONG KONG — Flights resumed at Hong Kong’s airport Wednesday morning after two days of disruptions marked by outbursts of violence highlighting the hardening positions of pro-democracy protesters and the authorities in the Chinese city that’s a major international travel hub.

About three dozen protesters were camped in the airport’s arrivals area, a day after a mass demonstration and frenzied mob violence forced more than 100 flight cancellations. But check-in counters were open and flights appeared to be operating normally. Protesters spread pamphlets and posters across the floor in a section of the terminal but were not accosting travellers.

A statement from the airport’s management said it had obtained “an interim injunction to restrain persons from unlawfully and wilfully obstructing or interfering” with airport operations. It said an area of the airport had been set aside for demonstrations, but no protests would be allowed outside the designated area.

The airport had closed check-in for remaining flights late Tuesday afternoon as protesters swarmed the terminal and blocked access to immigration for departing passengers. Tuesday’s cancellations were in addition to 200 flights backlogged from Monday.

Most of the protesters left after officers armed with pepper spray and swinging batons tried to enter the terminal, fighting with demonstrators who barricaded entrances with luggage carts. Riot police clashed briefly with the demonstrators, leading to several injuries and prompting at least one officer to draw a handgun on his assailants.

The burst of violence included protesters beating up at least two men they suspected of being undercover Chinese agents. Airport security appeared unable to control the crowd, and paramedics later took both men away. Police have acknowledged using “decoy” officers, and some protesters over the weekend were seen being arrested by men dressed like demonstrators — in black and wearing face masks.

Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times, identified one of the men as a journalist at the nationalistic Chinese tabloid.

“Fu Guohao, reporter of GT website is being seized by demonstrators at HK airport,” Hu wrote on his Twitter account. “I affirm this man being tied in this video is the reporter himself. He has no other task except for reporting.”

One protester used a U.S. flag to beat Fu as he lay on the floor. Other protesters and first aid workers attempted to stop some who tried to trample the man, while pro-democracy lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki crouched beside him and tried to calm the attackers. After a heated argument, protesters allowed ambulance workers to take the man away on a stretcher.

Hong Kong police said they arrested five people for unlawful assembly, assaulting police officers and possessing weapons. More than 700 protesters have been arrested in total since early June, mostly men in their 20s and 30s, but also including women, teenagers and septuagenarians.

The airport disruptions escalated a summer of demonstrations aimed at what many Hong Kong residents see as an increasing erosion of the freedoms they were promised in 1997 when Communist Party-ruled mainland China took over what had been a British colony.

The demonstrators are demanding Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam step down and scrap proposed legislation under which some suspects could be sent to mainland China, where critics say they could face torture and unfair or politically charged trials.

Lam has rejected calls for dialogue, saying Tuesday the protesters were threatening to push their home into an “abyss.”

Non-governmental organization Human Rights in China said Lam had exhibited incompetence and arrogance in refusing to meet with the protesters over their demands.

Lam has pursued Beijing’s hard line while ignoring “the rampant violence deployed by a police force clearly ill-trained to deal appropriately with crowd control,” the group’s Executive Director Sharon Hom said in an emailed statement. Lam has “shown herself not fit to lead Hong Kong out of this political crisis.”

The protests have hit at Hong Kong’s reputation as a well-regulated centre for finance and travel hub. Playing on those concerns, Beijing has mobilized allies in the business community to condemn the protests, including key figures among overseas Chinese in the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore.

Some 21 countries and regions have issued travel safety alerts, saying the protests have become more violent and unpredictable.

Road restrictions, increased security for Blue Jays camp day at Rogers Centre

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Aug 14th, 2019

Road restrictions and increased security will be in effect around Rogers Centre on Wednesday for Toronto Blue Jays Camp Day.

For the annual event, buses will be dropping off and picking up people in the area of Bremner Boulevard and Spadina Avenue.

The Blue Jays are playing the Texas Rangers starting at 12:37 p.m.

Traffic restrictions on the roads around the stadium will start at 11 a.m. and will remain in place until the end of the game.

Neighbourhood condo residents and business owners have been provided with security passes allowing them access to the area during that time.

Police officer who helped bring home alleged stolen pup adopts him

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Aug 14th, 2019

A police officer who was involved in bringing home a dog that was allegedly stolen from the Toronto Humane Society has adopted the puppy.

Milo, a 10-month-old retriever/hound cross, was allegedly taken from the Humane Society last Friday before he was found on Sunday.

Christopher Rich, 31, is now facing theft charges in connection with the incident.

The Humane Society tweeted out Tuesday that one of the police officers who helped bring Milo home had fallen in love with the dog’s “sweet and precious personality” and adopted him.

“We are absolutely thrilled to tell you the Milo found his forever home today,” read the tweet. “We wish them both happiness and joy for their new life together!”


Four Peel officers plead guilty after stealing ‘Scarface’ statue

LIAM CASEY, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Aug 14th, 2019

Four Peel police officers admitted Tuesday to lying on the stand about stealing a statue of “Scarface” character Tony Montana from an alleged drug dealer five years ago.

The Peel Regional Police officers — Const. Richard Rerrie, Const. Damian Savino, Const. Mihai Muresan and Sgt. Emanuel Pinheiro — pleaded guilty to one count each of attempting to obstruct justice in a Brampton, Ont., courthouse. Charges of theft and perjury were withdrawn.

“Clearly their conduct is dark chapter for Peel police,” said Justice Bruce Durno. “It was a foolish and impulsive act in stealing the statue … But the (obstruction) offence is most serious. It struck at the heart of the justice system.”

All four drug squad officers resigned from the force at the end of July as part of a plea deal, court heard.

The judge accepted a joint submission of a 12-month conditional sentence for the officers, including six months of house arrest.

The four had been watching an alleged drug dealer, Lowell Somerville, make a “hand to hand” transaction when they arrested him on June 23, 2014, according to an agreed statement of facts read out in court by Crown attorney Peter Scrutton.

The officers found Somerville in possession of a small quantity of heroin and methamphetamine. They later searched his home in Mississauga, Ont., where they found more heroin and a document about a storage locker in Toronto, Scrutton told court.

They obtained a search warrant and raided the locker early the next morning. Somerville later alleged the officers stole cash, jewelry and a one-metre tall, wooden statue of the fictional drug lord Tony Montana, played by Al Pacino in the famous movie.

Somerville’s defence lawyer, Kim Schofield, pulled security video of the storage facility that showed Rerrie carrying a large object out of the locker while the other three officers watched.

At an early court hearing in 2015, the officers all said they didn’t take anything from the locker.

At Somerville’s trial in 2017, all four officers again denied taking anything from the locker. Then Schofield played the video for Rerrie, who said he had taken a space heater from the storage facility’s hallway that had a “free” sign on it, court heard. The other three couldn’t recall Rerrie carrying anything.

The video showed otherwise.

“They were only apprehended due to the diligence and skilful work of Ms. Schofield,” Durno said.

The judge in the previous case didn’t buy the officers’ stories and tossed Somerville’s charges due to their actions. That prompted an internal investigation by the Peel force, which led to charges against the officers last year.

On Tuesday, all four admitted to the theft.

“The accused didn’t lie to incriminate Mr. Somerville and they did not fabricate evidence to strengthen their case — it was to protect themselves against this stupid and sophomoric theft they committed,” Scrutton said.

He said the greater issue than the theft, which he likened to a “prank,” were the lies.

“If these officers provided an honest account of what happened, we would not likely be here today,” Scrutton said.

The judge also had harsh words for the officers.

“It was group effort to mislead,” he said. “They lied to cover up another crime. The duration of their offending was aggravating.”

The lawyers for all officers said their clients, none of whom had any previous disciplinary issues, were remorseful and embarrassed.

Pinheiro was the only officer to speak to court.

“When I recently shared with my wife what I did, she didn’t understand why I risked so much,” he said through tears. “This had a major impact on my life and something I’m still attempting to understand and overcome.”

Outside court, Schofield said the resolution to the case was “better than nothing.”

“You have four police officers that perjured themselves … no longer working as police officers,” she said, adding that the statue has never been found and neither has her client’s jewelry or money.

Somerville also lamented the loss of the Tony Montana statue.

“It’s irreplaceable,” he said, shaking his head.

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