Toronto: Gunmen shoot mourner dead

American organized crime groups included traditional groups such as La Cosa Nostra & the Italian Mafia to modern groups such as Black Mafia Family. Discuss the most organized criminal groups in the United States including gangs in Canada.
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Christina Marie
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Toronto: Gunmen shoot mourner dead

Unread post by Christina Marie » November 19th, 2005, 1:59 pm

Gunmen shoot mourner dead
Victim was attending the funeral of his murdered friend

Michael Friscolanti and James Cowan
National Post


Saturday, November 19, 2005
CREDIT: Peter Redman/National Post

A woman is consoled outside the Toronto West Seventh-Day Adventist Church yesterday after gunmen opened fire on a mourner standing outside the church. The victim died in hospital of a bullet wound to the neck.

A funeral for one of the city's latest murder victims turned into another crime scene yesterday when a gang of gunmen opened fire outside the church, killing an 18-year-old mourner.

The noon-hour shooting, which stunned even police officers, triggered chaos at what had been a sombre goodbye for Jamal Hemmings, a 17-year-old who was gunned down last week in a Toronto parking lot.

Police say yesterday's victim, who was with Mr. Hemmings when he died on Nov. 9, was standing near the back door of the Toronto West Seventh-Day Adventist Church smoking a cigarette when he was ambushed by three gun-wielding men and shot several times. He was rushed to a nearby hospital but died of a bullet wound to the neck.

The suspects escaped on foot, police said, then sped away from the church in what is believed to be a red Honda Civic. Minutes later, the car reportedly smashed into another vehicle, but the suspects managed to drive away before police arrived.

Inside the church, the gunshots sparked bedlam. Some of the 300 mourners took cover under the pews, while others rushed outside, screaming and crying. One woman was so overwhelmed that she suffered a heart attack. She is expected to survive, police said last night.

"It is unbelievably brazen," said Superintendent Ron Taverner, speaking to reporters outside the yellow police tape that now surrounds the church parking lot on Martin Grove Road. "The act speaks for itself -- at a church at a funeral service with 300 people in attendance. Disturbing. Outrageous. There are not enough descriptive words you can say."

Police have not released the name of the victim but confirmed that the shooting was gang-related.

"We believe the young man who was killed today was targeted very specifically," said Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair.

"It's an extraordinarily appalling act," he continued. "One would hope that there would be respect for our houses of worship and our faith community. I think the place in which this act took place and the public nature of this violence demonstrates the callous disregard some of these gang members have and the total disrespect they have for their community."

Chief Blair joined Mayor David Miller at an afternoon news conference yesterday to denounce the latest -- and the boldest -- in a recent rash of gun murders to grip the city.

"I am incredibly saddened and I think every Torontonian should feel the same way," said the Mayor, visibly shaken. "This is a church, and people went there to mourn -- they went there to mourn. The kind of despicable thugs that would go there and do this don't belong on the streets. They belong in jail."

Investigators were still studying the crime scene last night, placing orange pylons beside shell casings and pools of blood scattered near the church door. Officers also canvassed the surrounding neighbourhood, a mix of low-income townhouses and apartment complexes in the city's northwest end.

"I have lived here for 30 years and I'm now getting scared," said area resident Lucille Griffiths, 64. "It's too much. This is ridiculous. The young people see this happen every day. This one kills that one. That one kills this one. And nobody takes heed."

Some people who live in the area criticized police for not monitoring the funeral more closely, suggesting that officers should have foreseen the violence. Chief Blair dismissed such second-guessing, saying his officers had "no intelligence that indicated that there was any risk."

Detectives are searching for three black men, all approximately five-foot-nine with medium builds. The car that fled the scene matches the description of the vehicle that was seen speeding away from the parking lot where Mr. Hemmings was killed last week.

"It is absolutely ludicrous what's going on in our city, and I am going to say it again: This is a wake-up call for our city," said Orim Meikle, a Christian pastor who arrived at the church shortly after the shooting. "Every level of our city needs to realize that we are in a crisis. When a [person] is gunned down on the steps of a church -- perhaps the most sacred place in society -- we've got a major problem that we've got to address."

http://www.canada.com/fortstjohn/story. ... c44a92fcab

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He died as a man. He died as a friend'

Unread post by Christina Marie » November 20th, 2005, 9:19 pm

He died as a man. He died as a friend'
THE Victim | Father, role model, passionate reggae dancer, Amon Beckles was a centrepiece in his family
Nov. 20, 2005. 01:00 AM
JESSICA LEEDER AND DALE ANNE FREED
STAFF REPORTERS


Amon Beckles was a star reggae dancer with dreams of going professional, a daddy to an 18-month-old daughter, and a Central Tech student on the brink of adult life.

To his four younger siblings, who grew up in awe of everything from his PlayStation and basketball prowess to his addiction to mayonnaise "sangwiches", he was a family centrepiece.

"He was a role model in my life," one brother said.

The likeable 18-year-old's dreams were cut short Friday when he was shot in the neck just outside the Toronto West Seventh-day Adventist Church on Albion Rd. where he had come to mourn his best friend, Jamal Hemmings, 17, his reggae partner and a homicide victim.

Nadia Beckles, Amon's mother, was in the church when she heard gunshots. "I didn't know it was my son," she said. "I just heard somebody say his name."

A day later, she's planning for his funeral.

"I want them to know his death will not go in vain. He died as a man. He died as a friend."

Beckles's family, gathered to mourn their own in the cramped living room of his grandmother's west Toronto house last night, spoke out on the condition none of their names be used. But not because they're scared. "We are handling it in our own way," said an aunt. "I don't know what to think right now. I'm in shock."

Even in his absence, Beckles brought laughter to his family, many of whom grew up dancing at his side in a group run by two aunts called No Mercy.

"We'd dance in the gym, outside, in the back streets, everywhere," said one of Beckles's cousins. "We loved to dance. We'd do it instead of doing nothing. We're still close as a family. Since the death happened, we're just ..." she trailed off.

The teen was with her cousin at Hemmings's funeral. She said Hemmings was "pretty much a part of our family" and grew up dancing reggae with them.

"Jamal and Amon were best friends; wherever Jamal was, you'd find Amon. They were like brothers," said Jamal's father, Michael Hemmings.

Beckles was with Hemmings the night of Nov. 9 when Hemmings was fatally shot, said Det. Sgt. Mario DiTommaso. Just over a week later, Beckles himself became a homicide statistic — number 69 for the year — gunned down outside the church where he'd gone to mourn his friend.

"Friends of his were trying to give him CPR," said Const. Ewan MacLeod, who arrived on scene just before 1 p.m. Friday.


Minutes before Pastor Andrew King began the funeral service, he said he was told "shooters are in the church."

Even though King knew there could be violence, he decided not to call police on advice from members of a community housing group who gave him the grim news, he told the Star.

"Two people from the community housing group came up and whispered to me that shooters were in the church," King said yesterday outside a church service held at a nearby high school while forensic identification officers finished their probe of his Seventh-day Adventist Church.

He said he and the housing workers spoke about what to do. "They advised me not to call the police. I was apprehensive."

But King thought they would all be safe inside the church. "We were terrified of the situation but we put our safety in the Lord Jesus Christ and we were protected.

"At the end of the service I realized there were guns in the church, more than I'd like to know. At lot of people were in there packing (guns)."

Suddenly the church filled with "popping noises," the sound of gunfire, the pastor recalled. "All of a sudden there was pandemonium. We realized someone had been gunned down outside the church.

"We asked everyone to lie down quietly inside the sanctuary and not to move. We didn't know what was going on outside," he said. "I was looking at a casket in front of me. I realized there's another dead person outside the front of the church."

Det. Colin Ray said King should have called police. "If he knew ahead of time there were guns in the church — guns can only lead to disaster — he should have called police."


Beckles's grandmother said police "failed my grandson. They can't correct that failure. He's dead.

"Anybody with any kind of sense at all would know there should have been somebody (from the police) there. In my opinion they did not serve and protect my grandson."

Police Chief Bill Blair said Beckles had spoken to homicide officers about Hemmings's slaying, but said police had no reason to believe the man was at any risk. "There was no indication that he was attending that funeral service or that he was at any risk, otherwise steps would have been taken."

Blair's spokesman Mark Pugash could not say if police will attend Beckles's funeral. "Assessments are made in each case on what is necessary. Clearly one of our greatest concerns ... is protecting public safety."

Beckles's family said yesterday they believe he died simply because he knew what happened the night Hemmings was shot.

"They've got who they wanted," Beckles's grandmother said, adding she does not know if her grandson knew the shooter's identity. But she did offer one guarantee: "There was absolutely no gang activity. None."

Police confirmed yesterday that Beckles was a "potential material witness" to Hemmings's killing. But DiTommaso said he was more than a witness: police had also been looking into Beckles's own activities. He was known to police and was "the subject of an ongoing investigation," DiTommaso said, adding the teen was interviewed once after Hemmings's death.

"His information was not very accurate," DiTomasso said.

"If he had been more forthcoming to police, it's entirely possible the people responsible for the original homicide (of Hemmings) would have been arrested," said Pugash.

Although the shooting occurred in the heart of Crips gang territory DiTommaso said the death was not gang related.

DiTommaso said police have narrowed witnesses' descriptions to a single suspect. He was described as wearing a three-quarter-length blue, hooded coat, a dark baseball cap and dark pants.

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/Conten ... alogin=yes

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Unread post by North Face » November 22nd, 2005, 8:30 pm

its coo how u keep up with the story, shit like that happens but to actually do that shit mehn they going to hell fo sure.

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Unread post by Christina Marie » November 22nd, 2005, 8:56 pm

North Face wrote:its coo how u keep up with the story, shit like that happens but to actually do that shit mehn they going to hell fo sure.

[
Thanks. Ya...they are going to be judged one day.

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Unread post by A Ghost » November 22nd, 2005, 9:48 pm

Although the shooting occurred in the heart of Crips gang territory DiTommaso said the death was not gang related.
Do Bloods and Crips control Toronto now?

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Unread post by North Face » November 23rd, 2005, 9:30 pm

A Ghost wrote:
Although the shooting occurred in the heart of Crips gang territory DiTommaso said the death was not gang related.
Do Bloods and Crips control Toronto now?
couple of years back in the late 90's YES.

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Funeral after a funeral

Unread post by peace2dastreets » December 1st, 2005, 12:22 pm

I don't kno if this has been posted up before here at streetgangs.com. About 2 weeks ago there was a funeral for a 17 year old who was shot dead. During the service, one of the mourners (one of the victim's close friends) stepped out for a ciggarette. This is when he was shot thru the neck and killed too. Toronto is gettin pretty bad sometimes. I mean for a shooting to happen in church, thats just messed. And then earlier this summer a 4 year old got shot a couple times during a shooting. This year we've had about 50 gun murders, mostly young black males. I kno compared to the states thats not much, but to me, thats fifty deaths too many. here's the story:

http://www.pulse24.com/News/Top_Story/2 ... 1/page.asp

The terrible trend of gun violence in the city has reached a new low after a young man who was attending his friend’s funeral was shot to death in front of a church. But police say they now have a clearer picture of who may be responsible for this shocking crime.

The circumstances of the murder were bitterly ironic, as 18-year-old Amon Beckles was attending the funeral for his friend, 17-year-old Jamal Michael Hemmings, who was shot near Oakwood and Eglinton on Nov. 9th.

The shots rang out Friday afternoon in front of the Seventh Day Adventist Church on Albion Road near Martin Grove when Beckles left the service to step outside for a cigarette.

As friends and family said a tearful goodbye to Hemmings, an armed man apparently followed Beckles outside and opened fire. The teen was rushed to Etobicoke General Hospital, but doctors were unable to save him.

Some mourners were upset there was no police presence at the funeral, but Chief Bill Blair said there was no intelligence to indicate there was any risk.

Both police and community members expressed their shock, sadness and outrage over this shocking shooting.

“I think the youth are sending a statement to us that they’re not afraid of the adults and the police, it’s a very brazen act and I think we need to address it like that,” pastor and anti-violence advocate Orim Meikle explained.

Mayor David Miller said this crime and others like it indicate a much deeper problem.

“These shootings are also a symptom of something that’s going wrong in Toronto and that there are neighbourhoods in this city that are at risk of being left behind,” he said.

“We're at risk of becoming a city of haves and have-nots.”

But almost no one has suffered more after this shooting than the grandparents of the teenage victim.

"I think I'm still in shock," said Angela Beckles, Amon's grandmother.

"But as the days go along I will realize that this is reality and I guess at that time I will have to cope with it as best as I can."

Beckles leaves behind an 18-month-old daughter.

Police are looking for a single suspect who’s described as:



Black
He was wearing a three-quarter length hooded coat, dark pants and a dark baseball cap

Investigators are also looking for a red or burgundy early model four-door car with tinted windows in connection to Hemmings’ death.

Authorities want to speak with everyone who was in the church as they’re certain many may have information about the person who carried out this terrible attack.

If you can help police, call (416) 808-7400 or Crime Stoppers at (416) 222-TIPS.

November 19, 2005

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Unread post by North Face » December 1st, 2005, 5:02 pm

yes it has been posted. I think the Topic is called "Mourner shot dead at funeral"

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