This “one idiot” allegedly armed with a gun is 17.
And police say he created quite the commotion in the heart of Yonge-Dundas Square late Thursday night.
“The first call was from people at 10 Dundas E. at 11:25 p.m., saying there was a man outside a restaurant in the plaza with a gun in his belt,” Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook said.
This was little more than 24 hours after the brazen murder of a man outside a Tim Hortons and Starbucks on Yonge St., just north of Bloor St. — very close to one of the city’s busiest intersections.
Police didn’t take any chances Thursday and swarmed the area with officers from both 51 and 52 divisions.
“It was a rapid response and treated as a serious, credible gun,” a source said.
Cops quickly spotted a young man who fit the description from the 911 callers, but he ran off.
“In the process of trying to escape, he dropped the weapon and it was recovered by several officers on the scene,” Douglas-Cook said.
The suspect kept running and so did police. Witnesses said it looked like a movie scene, but after 25 homicides in 3 1/2 months, this type of shocking drama in our city is very real indeed.
Just as real as the Eaton Centre shootings in June 2012, when police tried to reassure us that “one idiot with a gun doesn’t speak to the state of affairs of Toronto.”
But police officers tell me they’re very concerned with the spike in violent crimes so far this year.
“Because of the fact that we can’t properly approach people the same way we used to means that some of these people feel perfectly safe carrying guns and knives and other weapons right in Dundas Square,” a police source said, referring to the province’s reform of the street-check practice known as carding. “These people now know that it is not easy anymore for us police officers to engage them and use our experience to help determine what they may be up to.”
I would never support a carding system that involved random, quota-based interrogations, but there needs to be an intelligent discussion about how police should do their job and speak with people on the street.
The police union recently advised its members to exercise extreme caution because they’re under political attack and being judged through an “anti-racism lens.”
On Thursday night, police were able to locate and arrest a suspect and retrieve a handgun because someone called them with information. Without the call, and especially with the post-carding ambiguity, he might still be walking around our streets, allegedly armed with a deadly weapon.
The teen was in court Friday charged with several firearms offences, including possession of a loaded revolver.
Where was he going? Was he looking for someone? Was he planning something?
We don’t know.
What we do know is thanks to some great police work nobody was hurt, another gun was taken off the streets and a teen will have to explain himself in court.