Another swarming in Weston

Police report that another swarming happened in south Weston, very near the site of a swarming only a month ago.

On October 8 at 4 pm, a 15-year-old man was approached from behind by three men wearing disguises. They demanded his belongings and punched him in the face several times. The victim ran away, and the suspects fled eastbound on Denison Rd.

Last month, a young man was swarmed at the nearby Trimbee park by three young men and a woman. They stole his iPod. The vague descriptions are somewhat similar in both cases, though it is quite hard to be sure they were the same people. Both groups included two young, slim white men and one young black man.

Victims identified: One a local student

The victims of Wednesday night’s shooting have been identified.

Courthney Facey, 18, and Mike James, 23, were murdered in an alleyway off Weston Rd. Facey was shot in the head, and James was shot in the stomach by assailants in a black BMW SUV with custom rims.

Neither victim was known to police, and neither was armed. Facey was a student at Weston CI, and loved to dance. James was deaf, an apprentice chef at Woodbine racetrack, and a graduate of Humber College.

The Star has a touching article on the victims.

Candidates outline policies on crime in Weston

I emailed all the municipal candidates to ask about the recent shootings. I asked them how their platforms address violent crime in Weston, how violent crimes can be prevented, and what their platforms offer the youth of Weston. Leo Marshall and Fulvio Sansone responded quickly by email. Frances Nunziata and I spoke on the phone. Abdi Hashised did not return my email by the time this story was posted.

Frances Nunziata

Councillor Nunziata emphasized her long experience in Weston, and said that her most recent efforts have been trying to stamp out illegal and after-hours bars that draw criminals and other drug-dealers.

The double shooting, she said “makes me sick. Crime has always been on the priority list for me, going back for the last 22 years.”

“I’ve walked about with the police. We try to target problem establishments”, she said. “We’ve gone on a number of blitzes with Alcohol and Gaming. We’ve laid a number of charges. We’re trying to get their licenses revoked.”

The young men were shot in an area popular for drug dealing, she said. Police told her that they were not from the area.

Fulvio Sansone

In a long email, Sansone said that revitalizing the BIA and businesses would reduce crime in Weston.

My plans are to revitalize York South Weston primarily by strengthening our existing BIAs in Weston and Mt. Dennis…. Through revitalization of our business corridors we then create an environment that is not conducive to crime… you don’t hear about shootings in the Beach or Bloor West Village because that is not the type of environment where criminals thrive!

More after school as well as Parks & Recreation Programs are needed for the area youth.

Sansone  says that creating community groups will give Weston more clout:

We have some very valuable and effective resident & community groups in our Ward and we need to establish similar groups in York South Weston where they do not exist. With the strength and organization of our combined community groups our voice will then carry the weight needed to have our Provincial & Federal representatives make the necessary changes to laws that will give our police the tools needed and to put teeth into sentences that will act as deterrents.

Leo Marshall

In her email to me, Marshall said

This issue of crime goes deeper than what we note and the underlying factors need in-depth examination. Poverty, the lack of jobs and even educational opportunity all hinder the development of a community where the standards that are required are met and not in decline.

Presumably taking a shot at the mayoral front-runner, Rob Ford, she said

Policing and the ability to reach our youth through providing for them activities (perhaps a structured Community Centre) will help, but we need to go further. Certainly this is not the time to cut funding to organizations which offer outreach programs but the time to enhance them.

A few new details in double murder

Toronto Police and the media have released a few new details about the double shooting in Weston last night.

Two young men were shot to death in a barrage of gunfire after an argument in an alley on Weston Rd. More than 10 shots were fired, and several cars were hit. One man, 18, had been shot in the head. He appears to have been killed at the scene. The other victim, 23, was shot in the abdomen. He died in hospital.

The men were not known to police, and their names have not yet been released.  It is not even clear at this time if they were both intended victims or bystanders. One man was shot beside a car, where he collapsed. The other may have been chased down, or dragged himself onto Weston Rd.

According to the police, a black SUV was seen fleeing the scene northbound on Weston Rd. Police are asking for the public’s help.

Have We Hit Bottom Yet?

The news of the deaths of two men today is depressing. We don’t have all the details yet but there seems to be an entrenched criminal element in Weston that thinks nothing of routinely carrying firearms and using them to settle disputes. These urban terrorists have made people fearful. Our vibrant community here in Weston has been ruined over the years by inept politicians, poor planning and a seeming inability of our police force to contain this mayhem. The question that needs to be asked of planners, politicians and police is, how do you propose to reverse this decline? Surely this is rock bottom?

Two murdered at Weston and Lawrence

Two young men are dead after a shooting last night at Weston Rd and Wright Ave, according to CityNews and other media.

According to CBC Radio, more than 10 shots were fired at about 10:30 pm after an argument on the street.

One young man, 18, was shot in the head. The other, 23, was shot in the torso. Both died in Sunnybrook Hospital.

Weston Rd was closed until 7 am.

Rash of muggings in Weston area

It’s dangerous to ride a bike in Weston. It’s even more dangerous to walk.

In the past three weeks, there have been at least six muggings, swarmings, robberies and assaults in the Weston area. There were three in just the past week. Most have happened on the periphery of Weston, but several have happened on major streets, and many have happened in the day or in early evening.

The most frightening incident happened on September 8 at about 10 pm. A 33-year-old man walking at the intersection of Weston Rd at St Phillips was approached from behind, blinded by a sweater thrown over his head, and stabbed and beaten. He was unable to give a description of the man who assaulted him, and police are giving no motive for the attack.

In all of the other cases, muggers attempted to steal property. On September 18, three men entered Seif Halal Food Market, also at the intersection of Weston and St Phillips. One brandished a handgun and struck one of the three victims with the butt of the pistol. They stole keys to the store and to a car, and fled.

There were also two swarmings. In the first, a young man was swarmed at Trimbee Park by a group of eight people who stole his cell phone. In the second, four men approached a young couple leaving Maple Leaf Park at 2:20 in the afternoon at intersection of Culford and Rustic Rds. The 16-year-old woman was grabbed, and the group stole her cell phone.

A 26-year-old employee of the Roger’s Store on Wilson Ave also had his phone taken. Two men entered the store and took his phone from the counter. There was a struggle, but both assailants were able to escape. The employee was not injured.

A 17-year-old was also mugged nearby the day after. On September 20th, two men approached him from behind and searched through his pockets. They fled empty-handed.

Muggings in Weston so far this month