Residents demand answers over gunplay on Riverdale street

Residents in Riverdale are demanding answers after three incidents of gunfire within a city block in the space of a little more than a year.

Most recent shooting happened early morning of July 2, no injuries reported

Matt, a resident who lives close to the spot where gunshots rang out in June, said he and his neighbours are not getting answers from Toronto Police. (Ivan Arsovski/CBC News)

Residents are demanding answers from police after hearing the sound of gunshots three times within a one block radius over the last year in a usually quiet part of Riverdale.

The first incident, in which a cat was killed, happened on May 29, 2016, and now there have been two others just weeks apart — one in mid-June, the other over the Canada Day weekend.

There are no reports of anyone being injured but people who live on Degrassi Street and First Avenue near Gerrard Street East and Broadview Avenue are fearful.

"It's almost scarier not knowing what happened or what led up to this," said Matt, who heard gunfire erupt close to his home in the early hours of June 17.

CBC Toronto has agreed to withhold Matt's last name over safety concerns.

Matt said he was lying in bed that evening when he heard multiple loud bangs coming from the street, then the squeal of tires as a car drove away seconds later. 

"It sounded like fireworks going off. Everyone [living on the street] came out of their homes," Matt recalled. 

He said he went outside to speak to a police officer who told him that "six shell casings" were found in the intersection.

CBC Toronto's Adrian Cheung and a resident stand outside a home that was shot at on the corner of Degrassi Street and First Avenue in Riverdale. (Ivan Arsovski/CBC News)

Multiple residents also told CBC Toronto they heard shots ringing out just two weeks later on Sunday, July 2, and although Toronto police would not confirm a gun was fired, neighbours saw a heavy police presence and crime-scene tape on First Avenue that day.

Matt said he and other residents have called police repeatedly.  He said he realizes not every detail can be shared during an investigation but said they want "some understanding of what's going on or that there's real action being taken."

Three incidents of gunfire have been reported between May 2016 and July 2017 in one city block in Riverdale, a neighbourhood considered quiet and family-friendly. (Ivan Arsovski/CBC News)

It is not known if the three shootings are connected. 

Ernestine Van Houten, who lives across the street from where the May 2016 shooting happened, said she thought the latest case was the sound of fireworks.  

"I kind of think that if anybody is after somebody here, it's targetted," Van Houten said, adding that she said the street is usually "nice and quiet".

Stray bullet holes remain

Several residents CBC Toronto spoke to said there are daily reminders of the dangers they face — the possibility of stray bullets hitting a home and killing someone. 

A house on the southwest corner of Degrassi and First is still scarred with several bullet holes from the June 17 incident. 

Minh Yeong, right, seen here speaking with CBC Toronto's Adrian Cheung, describes the night of the shooting that left bullet holes on his home as 'terrifying.' (Ivan Arsovski/CBC News)

"I was terrified. I heard five, six shots that came quickly," said Minh Yeong, a resident of the home that was hit. He explained what he heard and saw that night in Cantonese.

"The fact that we don't know who did it – it scares me deeply."

Stray bullet holes remain on the side of a home struck by a gunfire on June 17, 2017. (Ivan Arsovski/CBC News)

Yeong said at the time of the gunshots, four of his family members were inside the house and consider themselves fortunate that no one was hit and killed.

But he said he also wants answers from police on whether they know who endangered his family. 

"I've lived here for 10 years and it's never been this bad."