Toronto

Jail beating of Toronto gang member possibly linked to pregnant woman shooting death: sources

The shooting death of a pregnant woman in Toronto's Rexdale neighbourhood Sunday night may have links to a gang war sparked by an armed standoff and a kidnapping at a downtown condominium last month, CBC News has learned.

'Fear and intimidation is a factor that is used within street gangs,' Chief Saunders said Tuesday

Toronto police have identified Candice Rochelle Bobb, 35, as the pregnant woman fatally shot Sunday night. Her baby is in stable condition in hospital.

The shooting death of a pregnant woman in Toronto's Rexdale neighbourhood Sunday night may have links to a gang war sparked by an armed standoff and a kidnapping at a downtown condominium last month, CBC News has learned.

Police sources have told CBC News that they are probing a possible connection between the fatal shooting of Candice Rochelle Bobb, 35, and a rivalry between two gangs; one based on Driftwood Avenue in the Jane and Finch area, and the other on Jamestown Crescent in the Kipling and Albion area.

CBC News can now report that one of the gangs involved in the rivalry is the Young Buck Killas — the same group that made headlines in April after an armed elevator standoff between four of its members and a rival gang, the Queen's Drive Crips. Police said the Crips were planning to crash a party at a condominium at 300 Front Street near Blue Jays Way.

"These guys would rather kill another gangster, but they really don't care who they shoot when they target a rival neighbourhood," a police source said.

A high-ranking member of the Young Buck Killas, Quinton Gardiner, 19, was arrested following the standoff, after two members of the rival gang were reportedly kidnapped, beaten, forced to perform sex acts and moved to different locations in the Flemington Road area of Lawrence Heights over the course of two days. He was charged with numerous kidnapping-related offences.

Out for revenge

Police and neighbourhood sources tell CBC News that Gardiner, nicknamed "Pressa" referring to pressing the trigger of a gun, was attacked and beaten in jail by rival gang members and that his own gang, the Young Buck Killas, is now out for revenge. 

Armed standoff in Front Street condo elevator

6 years ago
0:50
Toronto police have released security footage of an armed standoff in a Front Street condo elevator connected to an alleged gang-related kidnapping. 0:50

​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, her five-month-old baby delivered by emergency C-section.

Police have not deemed any of those in the vehicle as targets of the shooting but on Monday, Det.-Sgt. Mike Carbone told reporters the vehicle itself "was certainly targetted."

'A code of silence'

Asked about a possible connection between Sunday's Jamestown shooting and the April armed standoff, Toronto police chief Mark Saunders told reporters Tuesday he would not comment directly, saying simply: "Do I know that there's gun play in that neighbourhood? Yes and I'd say that about 50 per cent of the gun play is directly related to street gang activity."

"Fear and intimidation is a factor that is used within street gangs and that is something that causes that code of silence," Saunders said.

In a news conference Tuesday, Toronto police chief Mark Saunders said there is "noticeably more gun play" in certain parts of the city, such as the Rexdale neighbourhood where Bobb was killed. (Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press)

"But ... also what causes the violence to remain and increase is when people don't say anything so the more information you put out there the better opportunity for that community to be safe."

Bobb is Toronto's 29th homicide of the year, nearly double the number of homicides by this time last year, which totaled 15. 

On Tuesday morning, the Toronto Police Association (TPA), the union representing 8,000 officers and civilian members, issued an open letter that says "the safest city in North America has a gun violence problem."

On Tuesday afternoon, Saunders tried to quell concerns about an approximate 200 per cent increase in gun violence in 2016, from the same time last year.

'It's like a boiling pot'

"In 2014 we were at 20 [homicides] and the year before that at 22, so really between 2013 and now, there's a 27 per cent increase," he said. 

On Tuesday, a boy who identified himself as as Bobb's "little brother" posted on Facebook a statement along with a picture apparently of the 25-year-old slain woman from her younger years. (Facebook)

At a news conference earlier this month, Staff Inst. Mike Earl voiced his concern about gang violence in the city saying, "It's like a boiling pot of potatoes, you're trying to keep a lid on it, but it's threatening to overflow."

Sources tell CBC News police have tied at least two shootings since Gardiner's arrest to his gang: a 23-year-old man shot in the head near Jane and Finch on May 13 and on May 6, a man shot after being followed from a Brampton courthouse.

On Tuesday, a boy who identified himself as as Bobb's "little brother" posted on Facebook a statement along with a picture apparently of Bobb in her younger years.

"R.I.P. Rochelle Bobb, my big sister. You had so many things left in this world to experience, you left behind three boys, one who you haven't even met, two who haven't even finished school," the statement said.

"If I could've taken the bullets for you I would have, because you had so much to look forward to ... You took me in when I had no place to go. And for that, I will be eternally grateful. I will never forget you."

Clarifications

  • An earlier version of the story said police believed the Crips were planning to crash a party at a condominium rented through the online service AirBnB. In fact, while police initially said it was an AirBnB property, they later retracted that description. The unit in question was not rented through AirBnB.
    May 18, 2016 1:47 PM ET

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