The shooting death of a 30-year-old man is Hamilton's 13th homicide of the year — the highest number in more than a decade — and caps off a month of ghastly headlines in the city.
Tyler Johnson, of Hamilton, was shot in front of a restaurant on King Street West at Caroline early on Saturday morning, in the same parking lot where an 18-year-old man had been stabbed to death less than three months earlier, on Sept. 15.
"Shortly after 3 a.m., an altercation occurred between two groups of men outside a restaurant located at 217 King St. W," said Det. Paul Hamilton in a Saturday news release
The conflict, he said, "quickly escalated when one man produced a handgun and shot the victim."
Emergency crews found Johnson without vital signs lying in the Tim Hortons parking lot next to the restaurant where the shooting had occurred, said James Summers, a spokesman for the Hamilton Paramedic Service.
Paramedics transported Johnson to Hamilton General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
On Saturday afternoon, Det. Hamilton told CBC Hamilton that Johnson did not have a criminal record.
Police, he added, have no suspects in the investigation.
Spate of homicides
The homicide is the Hamilton’s 13th of the year — the highest number in 14 years — and the third for the month of November.
In 2010, there were 12 homicides in Hamilton. The last time the city recorded more than that was in 1999, which saw 16 homicides.
Number of homicides in Hamilton per year
- 2013 — 13 (as of Nov. 30)
- 2012 — 6
- 2011 — 5
- 2010 — 12
- 2009 — 8
- 2008 — 6
- 2007 — 10
- 2006 — 7
- 2005 — 10
- 2004 — 9
- 2003 — 8
- 2002 — 10
- 2001 — 11
- 2000 — 9
- 1999 — 16
Source: Hamilton Police Service
A spate of murder investigations have been launched since the beginning of September.
Occurring just two days before the Sept. 15 stabbing, a shooting at a downtown Hamilton apartment building killed a 21-year-old Mississauga man and led to murder charges for a 23-year-old of no fixed address.
In late October, a man who had been struck by a car during a summer hit and run on Barton Street East died of his injuries in hospital. Police then declared his death the city’s 10th homicide of the year.
On Nov. 9, James “Lou” Malone, an ex-member of the Hells Angels biker gang, was gunned down after a chase near his east Hamilton home.
Police arrested two brothers — John and Mato 'Michael’ Josipovic, 50 and 47, respectively — and charged them with first-degree murder in the case. Det. Peter Thom, of the Hamilton Police Service, said Malone and the brothers “grew up together."
Additionally, a Stoney Creek man is facing charges in the Nov. 12 death of a sex worker. Police arrested Dalibor Klaric, 35, Jiali Zhang, a 40-year-old Chinese national who had been living in Toronto and working as an escort.
Shortly after 11 p.m. on that day, police say, they received a 9-1-1 call from the parking lot of Eastgate Square from a male who reported that he had just killed a woman in his apartment.
The city’s coroner later said the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.
Hamilton's most high-profile homicide case of 2013 arose in May, when Ancaster's Tim Bosma disappeared after leaving his home to take two men on a test drive in a truck the 32-year-old was looking to sell.
After heartfelt appeals from his family for Bosma's safe return, his remains, which had been burned, were found at a Waterloo-area farm less than two weeks after he was last seen alive.
The case attracted international attention and led to murder charges for two men, Dellen Millard, 28, of Toronto, and Mark Smich, 26, of Oakville.
'I don't feel safe,' store owner says
The two King Street West deaths raise major safety concerns for people who live and work in the area, said Samir Seif, owner of Big Bee, a convenience store located on the southwest corner of King West and Caroline.
“I don’t feel safe,” he told CBC Hamilton on Saturday morning. “It’s been less than three months since the [Sept. 15 stabbing] happened.”
Seif called for a stronger police presence in the central Hamilton neighbourhood.
“We need more security because there are lots of bars in this area,” he said.
“There’s a lot of problems. I think it’s bad sign.”