Accused in Little Italy shooting held in custody

The lawyer for the man accused of carrying out a daylight gangland-style assassination in Toronto's Little Italy says his client claims he is not guilty of the crime.

'He's extremely upset. He's shocked'

The man allegedly responsible for a daylight shooting in Toronto's Little Italy neighbourhood will plead not guilty, his lawyer says. 2:37

The lawyer for the man accused of carrying out a daring, daylight gangland-style assassination in Toronto's Little Italy says his client "has no idea why he's been charged."

Christopher Avery said Friday that Dean Wiwchar is "extremely upset" after being arrested in a dramatic police takedown on Thursday afternoon in downtown Toronto.

"He's extremely upset. He's shocked and he's looking forward to having the case moved forward as quickly as [possible] so that he can demonstrate he is not guilty," said Avery.

Wiwchar appeared in court at Toronto's Old City Hall on Friday, where he was formally charged with first-degree murder.

Wearing a white golf shirt and jeans, Wiwchar stood expressionless and only spoke his name when asked.

There is a publication ban on everything said in court.

Wiwchar was remanded in custody. His next appearance will be on July 27, via video link.

Police said Wiwchar, 26, was from British Columbia, but Avery says his client is from Stouffville, Ont., a bedroom community northeast of Toronto.

"Mr. Wiwchar is a man from Stouffville, his family is from Stouffville, he grew up in Stouffville, he is not from B.C."

Avery said his client served time in British Columbia after being convicted on a robbery charge in York Region, north of Toronto, five or six years ago. The lawyer did not explain why Wiwchar was convicted in one province but served part of his sentence in another.

But Avery said his client is adamant he didn't kill John Raposo, a 35-year-old father who was sitting at an outdoor café in Little Italy on Monday afternoon.

The lawyer told reporters outside the court that Wiwchar doesn't know the victim and "has no idea why he's been charged."

Funeral services were held Friday for John Raposo who was shot and killed in Toronto's Little Italy. (Steven D'Souza/CBC)

The area where the shooting happened was crowded with soccer fans watching a European Cup match between Italy and Ireland.

Raposo was shot a number of times at close range by someone dressed as a construction worker and wearing what police said was a blonde wig. One bystander was injured in the shooting, though the injuries were not life-threatening.

The funeral for Raposo, who left behind a child and pregnant girlfriend, took place on Friday morning in Toronto.

Police sources have told CBC News that Raposo had dealings with organized crime.

Wiwchar was in a taxi driving along Parliament Street in downtown Toronto when he was arrested by police in unmarked cruisers who surrounded the cab.

As many as 25 police officers were involved.

Wiwchar was taken from the taxi and led away in handcuffs.

He was carrying "multiple identification," Det. Sgt. Terry Browne said.

At a Thursday evening news conference, Browne was vague on details, saying that the investigation was continuing and involved multiple police forces including York Regional Police and the RCMP. It was at the news conference that he called Wiwchar a B.C. resident. 

"We’ve made a quick arrest on this, and that is a direct result of many, many police agencies who have been assisting us from the get-go with information that they have," Browne said.

The investigation includes two properties north of the city, and Browne said they'll be "speaking to and looking at" other people.

"I don't know where the tentacles are going to take us," he said.

Avery said Friday that just before the arrest Wiwchar was visiting with his grandmother at a retirement home in Aurora, north of Toronto.