Toronto

Gang rivalry possible factor in Rochelle Bobb shooting death: police sources

A shooting that killed a pregnant Toronto woman whose baby was delivered by emergency caesarian section may have been the result of a rivalry between two Toronto-area gangs, police sources tell CBC News.

Pastor pleads for increased security in northwest Toronto neighbourhood

Investigators are looking into the possibility that a rivalry between two Toronto-area gangs played a role in the fatal shooting of a pregnant woman in Rexdale Sunday night, police sources tell CBC News. 0:50

A shooting that killed a pregnant Toronto woman whose baby was delivered by emergency caesarian section may have been the result of a rivalry between two Toronto-area gangs, police sources tell CBC News.

Police sources also say the victim in Sunday night's shooting, 35-year-old Candice Rochelle Bobb of Malton, was shot in the chest but was likely not the intended target. Six shell casings were found at the scene in the city's Rexdale neighbourhood, the sources say.

The vehicle that Bobb was sitting in however "was certainly targeted," Det.-Sgt. Mike Carbone told a news conference Monday. 

​Bobb was in the back seat of the vehicle at John Garland Boulevard and Jamestown Crescent Sunday night when multiple shots were fired at it. Three others occupants were not hurt and Bobb was rushed to Etobicoke General Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Last night, my kids woke me up. They said, 'Daddy, listen, they're shooting.'- Suluh   Bakari , Jamestown Crescent resident

News of the shooting rocked the Jamestown neighbourhood and prompted calls from residents for violence in the area to stop.

"To hear that, every time my belly hurts," said resident Maureen Archibold, who said she plays a mother figure to many young people in the neighbourhood. 

"I want them to bury me, not me burying them."

'Turf wars'

In May 2016, Candice Rochelle Bobb was fatally shot while in the back seat of a car. Her 24-week old baby was also delivered by an emergency C-section but died three weeks later.

One of those gangs suspected is based out of Driftwood Avenue in the Jane and Finch area, and the other on Jamestown Crescent in the Kipling and Albion area.

On Monday, a heavy police presence was seen in the area, with officers going door-to-door looking for witnesses. 

Jamestown has been the site of a number of shooting deaths in recent years. Among them, 14-year-old Lecent Ross, gunned down last July just steps away from where Bobb was fatally shot on Sunday.

In March 2015, stay-at-home-dad Donald Beckles was shot multiple times on the same street as Ross.

And in February 2013, 15-year-old Jarvis Montague was also killed after a shooting at the Jamestown housing complex.

City Coun. Vincent Cristani said he has advocated for better security cameras in the area and blames the violence on a small number of people.

"These gangs these younger people are involved in [are in] turf wars," Cristani said Monday. "[They're] carrying guns and settling their differences showing their muscle in that way." 

Bobb's premature baby was delivered by emergency C-section at Etobicoke General Hospital, and then taken in an incubator to Sunnybrook hospital. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

'I don't know what kind of life that is'

Supt. Ron Taverner says Toronto police are "trying to deploy as many resources as we possibly can" to prevent similar shootings.

"Obviously there are more guns on the street," said Taverner on Monday morning. "More people are carrying guns, which is creating the phenomenon that we have right now."

Toronto police homicide Det.-Sgt. Mike Carbone updates Rexdale neighbourhood murder 0:36

For Suluh Bakari, a father of five who lives in the area, the violence is enough that he doesn't feel safe enough even to let his children walk to school.

"Last night, my kids woke me up. They said, 'Daddy, listen, they're shooting,'" Bakari said.

"All the kids in the neighbourhood are so scared now to play outside... I don't know what kind of life that is."

Keaton Austin, a pastor and Etobicoke resident, wants to see the city implement more security at community housing complexes in the area. He'd like to see fencing around buildings and security guards who can screen visitors.

"I'm pleading with whoever [can do it], have a conscience, have a heart," he said. 

"A mother right now died and left her kids behind."

About the Author

Shanifa Nasser

Reporter, CBC Toronto

Shanifa Nasser is an investigative journalist interested in national security and stories with a heartbeat. Before coming to CBC News, she was a Munk Fellow in Global Journalism at the University of Toronto. She also holds a Master's degree in Islamic Studies. shanifa.nasser@cbc.ca

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