This blood-curdling shootout in a condominium elevator involved up to ten guns.
A kidnapping of two boys and a ransom paid for their release ensued. There is sexual torture and Russian roulette alleged.
You wouldn’t think this would happen even in the wildest parts of the Wild West. This real-life shootout between the Queens Drive Crips and Young Buck Killas happened on a Tuesday night in Toronto and not on the silver screen.
It began April 19th, not in the stereotypical violent gangland areas that usually draws a public yawn, but at Front St. and Blue Jays Way in a swanky condo that is home to some Toronto Blue Jays players.
This has got people’s attention. Maybe it will be the brazen incident that finally forces politicians to allow police to be police again.
You know it’s serious when even veteran Staff-Insp. Mike Earl calls the gunplay “shocking and disturbing.” In decades on the job he has seen it all.
But not this.
Seems one group of gang members rented a unit on the 25th floor of Blue Jays Way (police originally said it was through Airbnb, but on Friday issued a release saying the information they had been given was "incorrect). Seems another armed gang came to do battle.
The video evidence is something out of a Quentin Tarantino movie. Perhaps the people pushing the ‘street checks by police are racist’ narrative will wake up and smell the gun smoke.
“These guys are carrying guns around like crazy,” Earl told reporters. “There’s no fear.”
Why would there be? A suspicious person can now tell a police officer to buzz off.
The number of guns and ammunition in this instance is one example of what happens when the bad guys packing have no concerns about being challenged.
Before the political neutering of police by ending carding, gangsters were nervous to carry guns.
Instead they had them stashed which, Earl said, meant when they saw a rival, the instant opportunity to open fire was not there because they were not armed.
Not any more.
“They’re feeling very comfortable carrying their firearms,” explained Earl. “They’re not really being interrupted, they’re not being approached as much as they used to be.”
“There’s a lot of guns on the streets and I think this shows it,” he said.
The statistics also show it. Shooting occurrences are up 61% over this time last year — 118 compared to 73 in April of 2015. Shooting victims are up 31% — 146 compared to 111. Homicide is double last year’s count at this time with 26 — 16 of those from the barrel of a gun.
Toronto is not always a safe city and there’s not one part of it anymore where one can feel completely safe as this incident illustrates.
“We’ve had a lot of shootings this year, as the media knows and the frontline police officers know,” said Earl. “But I’m not sure if everyone else knows what’s going on.”
Before another innocent teen like Shyanne Charles is killed or equally as precious Joshua Yasay, Jane Creba or Bailey Zaveda, they had better realize it.
“Something has changed in the criminal behaviour and we as police officers and the public at large have to ask what that is and why?” said Earl.
Everybody knows what it is. Police are not able to engage the public the same way they used to be able to.
It may not be politically correct to say it but the fact that the province has effectively eliminated carding as a policing tool needs to be looked at in this violent crime spike.
Before the politicians beat up on Earl for telling the truth, it must be noted he also said there are other factors including the availability of guns, that many of the gang members are 18 or younger and that when there is a rash of shootings there is a rash of retaliation.
These killers don’t care where they do it — at a barbecue, in the Eaton Centre, on Yonge St., in church, a funeral home, hospital or schoolyard. For these gangster thugs everywhere is a shooting gallery.
Even in an elevator.