New charges in 'targeted murder' on Toronto patio

A months-long investigation involving authorities in several provinces has led to new charges in the "targeted murder" of a man on a crowded Toronto patio, police said Wednesday.

John Raposo's killing has organized crime link, police say

More arrests in 'targeted' killing in Little Italy last summer . 2:30

A months-long investigation involving authorities in several provinces has led to new charges in the "targeted murder" of a man on a crowded Toronto patio, police said Wednesday.

John Raposo, 35, was the victim in the June 18, 2012, shooting on the patio of the Sicilian Sidewalk Café in Toronto’s Little Italy neighbourhood.

John Raposo, 35, was shot dead at an outdoor patio in Toronto's Little Italy neighbourhood (CBC)

The patio was crowded with people watching a Euro Cup soccer match between Italy and Ireland when a man dressed in a bright safety vest and construction helmet shot Raposo and fled the scene on foot.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Toronto police Insp. Greg McLane called the killing "a brazen attack" that amounts to "an assault on the public’s confidence in their safety."

Raposo died at the scene. He left behind a young child and a pregnant girlfriend at the time of his death.

Days after his death, police arrested Dean Wiwchar, 26, on a charge of first-degree murder.

The investigation into Raposo’s death continued, and police announced new charges on Wednesday.

"It has always been the belief of investigators that John Raposo was the victim of a targeted murder," McLane told reporters on Wednesday.

"As a result of the continued investigations, that belief continues today and it is alleged that the murder plot involves an aspect of organized crime."

2 suspects arrested, 1 still sought

McLane told reporters that one of the three suspects is Nicola (Nick) Nero, 36, a bodybuilder from Niagara Falls, Ont., who appeared in court on Wednesday on a charge of first-degree murder.

A second suspect, Martino Caputo, 39, of Toronto, was arrested in Germany on Saturday and also faces a first-degree murder charge. He was held on a warrant from Niagara Regional Police for drug-related offences.

Toronto police are asking that anyone with knowledge of Rabih Alkhalil's whereabouts call 911 immediately. (Toronto Police Service)

A third suspect, Rabih Alkhalil, 25, remains at large. Police said he is also facing a charge of first-degree murder. Alkhalil is known to frequent Ottawa and Montreal and has contacts in Vancouver, police said.

Anyone who has knowledge of Alkhalil is asked to call 911 immediately.

McLane told reporters it is believed Raposo was "involved in a criminal enterprise with these individuals, and as a result he met his demise."

He said that the investigation into Raposo’s death involved a half-dozen other police agencies in addition to Toronto's, including the Niagara Regional Police, York Regional Police, Montreal police, Vancouver police, Quebec provincial police and the RCMP.

Supt. Cliff Sexton of the Niagara Regional Police Service told reporters Wednesday that the three men who are now charged in the Raposo killing also face charges stemming from a major drug investigation last year.

But Sexton said Raposo was not among the accused in the Niagara drug investigation.

Last year's fatal shooting on the patio in Little Italy was one of several cases where Toronto police investigated shootings that occurred in places packed with people.

Just over two weeks before Raposo was killed, a shooting took place in a basement food court at the Eaton Centre that left one man dead and another fatally wounded. Five other people were wounded in the shooting at the shopping mall, but they survived.

In July of last year, two people were killed and more than 20 people wounded in a shooting on Danzig Street in east Toronto. Police later laid charges against several individuals, revealing that members of the Galloway Boys street gang had been present when the violence started.

With files from the CBC's Jeff Semple