Eight people have been arrested by Toronto police for their alleged role in a series of killings and attempted murders, in which investigators believe some of the victims were randomly targeted.
Staff Insp. Greg McLane told reporters that police began looking back at a series of events that began in 2008.
"It is the belief of investigators and it is alleged that a number of these homicides and shootings are associated to a group of individuals that were active in the City of Toronto," he said Thursday.
McLane said search warrants were executed on Thursday "in the Greater Toronto Area," as part of the investigation known as Project Sugar Horse.
Arrests were made of people who police believe are responsible for homicides and shootings in 2008, 2011 and 2012.
McLane said police have so far found alleged links between the following events and a specific group of individuals:
- The attempted murder of Kenneth Mark on Sept. 2, 2008. McLane said Mark was shot while sitting and talking with a friend on St. Clair Avenue West. He survived his injuries, but was shot dead the following year in a separate incident.
- The killing of Jermaine Smith on Aug. 27, 2011. McLane said the victim was approached by two men wearing hoodies while he was attending a barbecue where children were present. Police say the shooting was targeted and stemmed from a prior altercation with the victim.
- The killing of Delano Coombs on May 10, 2012. McLane said the victim was found suffering from “multiple gunshot wounds” on a footpath. He was rushed to hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. Police say the shooting was targeted, resulting from a prior altercation.
- The killing of Daniel Davis on July 19, 2012. McLane said the victim was shot on the grounds of Flemington Park Public School. Police say he was shot by assailants who drove up to Davis and a group of his friends and fired shots. Investigators allege that Davis’s death was "a random act of violence."
- The attempted murder of a 18-year-old man on Sept. 11, 2012. McLane said the victim was shot while walking on the street near Dallner Road and Loney Avenue. Police allege that this incident was also "a random act of violence."
- The killing of Marvin Englebrecht on Oct. 29, 2012. McLane said the victim was walking his dog when a vehicle pulled up alongside him. It is alleged that someone got out, chased the victim and shot him. "This event is alleged to be a random act of violence," McLane said.
Eight people are now facing charges of either attempted murder or first-degree murder. In some cases, there are individuals charged in connection with more than one of the homicides or shootings.
Asked if the people facing charges in Project Sugar Horse could be considered a gang, McLane stopped short of classifying the accused in that manner.
"They are a group and they do hang out and they do commit criminal offences together," McLane said.
McLane would not say if police had recovered weapons. He said he did not want to comment on evidence involved in the case.
The sibling of one of the slain men said the allegation that some of the victims had been targeted at random was hard to accept.
"To know that someone wakes up one morning and decides to kill someone randomly, that’s disgusting and that’s painful," Toni Tenille Rodney, the sister of Delano Coombs, said Thursday.
Police are still trying to figure out if the group of accused individuals may have been involved in other incidents.
Investigators are asking anyone with information to contact them at 416-808-7400, or to call Crime Stoppers at 416-222-8477.
- Aiman Khiar, a.k.a. "Bigz," 24
- Jerome Bent, a.k.a. "Germz," 22
- Dellan McMorris, a.k.a. "Young," 23
- Shakeil Wheatle, 19
- Dwayne Willis, a.k.a. "Mafia," 20
- Amanda Rumbolt, a.k.a. "White Millie," 29
- Jathursan Rajarubakumar, a.k.a. "Yadi," 22
- Bershon Roach-Ferguson, a.k.a."Bread," 20