Suspect sought after Toronto gas station worker killed

Toronto police have named a suspect wanted for second-degree murder in the death of a gas station attendant who died after being struck and dragged by an SUV.

Police believe Max Edwin Tutiven could be in Montreal

A gas station employee was fatally injured when struck by a vehicle on Saturday night. (Natalie Kalata/CBC)

Toronto police have named a suspect wanted for second-degree murder in the death of a gas station attendant who died after being struck and dragged by an SUV.

Jayesh Prajapati, 44, of Toronto, died in the incident at the Shell station on Marlee Avenue around 9 p.m. Saturday evening.

A post-mortem examination has determined that he died of multiple blunt force trauma injuries.

Police say that Prajapati died trying to stop the SUV from fleeing the gas station without paying for the fuel the driver had just pumped.

Prajapati had immigrated to Canada from India. He arrived here with his wife in 2006.

A trained chemist, Prajapati was unable to find work in his field. He ended up taking a job at the Toronto gas station where he died.

His wife told CBC Prajapati may have tried to stop the vehicle out of fear that the cost of the stolen gas would come out of his pay.

Suspect sought

Toronto police have released this photo of Max Edwin Tutiven, who is being sought on a charge of second-degree murder. (Toronto Police Service)

Police say they are now seeking Max Edwin Tutiven, 39, of Toronto, on a charge of second-degree murder.

Tutiven is a five-foot-five white male with a dark complexion. He weighs 220 to 230 pounds and has dark hair.

Police say he may be in the Montreal area.

He is believed to be driving a four-door Isuzu Rodeo, which is either silver or beige in colour. The vehicle may have stolen plates.

Police are urging Tutiven to contact a lawyer and call police.

Anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts is asked to call investigators at 416-808-7400, or to call Crime Stoppers at 416-222-8477.

Police sources told CBC News that Tutiven has a long criminal history involving charges of theft and assault, as well as allegations of stealing cars and gas.

Changes ahead?

Mike Colle, the MPP for Eglinton-Lawrence, lives in the area where the gas station is located and knew the victim.

Mourners have left flowers near the spot where Jayesh Prajapati, 44, was killed on the weekend. (Jeff Semple/CBC)

Colle said he's considering tabling a private member's bill to require customers to pay before they pump.

He also wants the rules clarified on whether employees can be held accountable for customers who steal.

"You’ve got a lot of independent operators, you’ve got the big operators and really, there seems to be a lack of clarity of whether or not the attendant is responsible to make up for the theft," Colle told CBC News.

Premier Dalton McGuinty has promised to take a look at what he can do to make workplaces safer for gas attendants after the fatal encounter.

"Our thoughts are with the victim's family and the gentleman who lost his life in such a tragic and unfortunate way," McGuinty said Monday.

"I think one of the things we owe that family and that gentleman in particular is to take a long hard look at lessons that we may draw from this."   

Last year, a gas station attendant in Mississauga, Ont., was killed when a driver filled up and then fled without paying.

With files from The Canadian Press and reports from the CBC's Jeff Semple and Philip Lee-Shanok