WARMINGTON: Move over Chicago, gun violence in Toronto is catching up

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Toronto isn’t yet Chicago, but our city tried its very best to be over the Father’s Day weekend.

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“Six shooting incidents that commenced on Friday — 11 persons struck in these incidents … two of them being homicides,” said Toronto Police Supt. Steve Watts.

He then took the time to provide details about the gun violence. It was quite a list.

— Friday, 10:40 p.m. at 58 Watertown Rd: One man fatally shot, another wounded.

— Saturday at 3:23 a.m, Lawrence Heights: A victim walked into a convenience store with gunshot wounds.

— Sunday, 2:40 p.m., 121 Humber Blvd.:  Two wounded teens, ages 15 and 17, were rushed to hospital.

— Sunday, 4:17 p.m., 45 Amaranth Crt.: A  43-year-old man suffered “multiple gun shot wounds.”

— Sunday, 4:24 p.m., outside 31 Lothertown Pathway: A 24-year-old man, Jaron Williams,  was shot and killed, becoming the city’s 33rd homicide of 2022.

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— Sunday, 8:05 p.m., 1455 McCowan Rd.: Three men and one woman were hit with bullets outside a unsanctioned car meet.

Move over Windy City. Toronto is heading in the same dangerous direction.

Chicago, over the Father’s Day weekend, registered four fatal shootings and 43 woundings; Toronto had two murders and saw nine shooting victims wounded.

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“In my experience, and the statistics are very clear, and they support this, the issue with firearm violence in Toronto specifically (is from) imported crime guns from the United States,” said Watts.

One reporter raised the question about the government — in the process of trying to freeze the purchase or transfer of legal handguns — offering a “buy back” program for firearms. Watts didn’t mince words.

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“A buyback program is counter-intuitive to America guns,” he said. “No one is going to submit an American gun to a buyback program. You are using that for your own illicit purposes.”

Watts said illegally smuggled in guns are the “issue.”

The veteran cop added, “they are not traditionally legally purchased firearms from the Canadian market, or the Ontario market. It’s cross-border firearms that are illicit crime guns from the United States.”

And the people who use them continue to wreak havoc on our streets and to kill and wound innocent people. While Watts noted Toronto is a “safe city” and “the general public is not “in any significant danger related to these events” it still makes people who live near these events very nervous.

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“I was very upset all day,” said Nandanie James, who said during her many years living on Lothertown Pathway, she had never witnessed a shooting or “even heard gun shots.”

That changed Sunday.

“I heard three shots out of my window,” she said.

She looked out and saw the young man had been shot. “I feel just terrible for he and his family,” said the mother and grandmother.

Over the years, I have covered many shootings within blocks of this one. Another truth is Toronto has no answer for any of this.

People long ago understood that it becomes a shooting gallery when gangsters decide they want it to be, and they don’t give a damn if their victims include a 12-year-old child like Dante Andreatta Marroquin, one of dozens of innocent victims.

Toronto may not yet be at Chicago. But who knows what the future will bring.

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