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Canada Rosie DiManno: In Toronto, no neighbourhood is immune to violence

09:06  11 june  2018
09:06  11 june  2018 Source:   thestar.com

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By Rosie DiMannoStar Columnist. There’s no such thing in Toronto , not a single area of this city that hasn’t experienced violence and the jolt of murder. But we pay more attention, it seems, react with greater outrage, when the victims are … what?

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Matthew Staikos, CEO of a successful technology company, was shot to death in Yorkville on May 29. There is no part of Toronto that hasn’t experienced violence or the jolt of murder.© Victor Biro Matthew Staikos, CEO of a successful technology company, was shot to death in Yorkville on May 29. There is no part of Toronto that hasn’t experienced violence or the jolt of murder.

The horror was genuine and so was the dismay.

A man murdered right here, on a late spring night, shattering the sense of calm that apparently is enjoyed by the residents and shopkeepers around one of Toronto’s most chichi neighbourhoods.

Bay and Yorkville, where 37-year-old Matthew Staikos, CEO of a successful technology company that provides a messaging platform for group chats, was shot to death on May 29 in what police described as an “unprovoked attack on a defenceless’’ guy just strolling along.

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Not only individuals killed or wounded or street-checked in allegedly over-policed neighbourhoods . The violence has all the earmarks of gang feuds and territorial rivalries and artificial turf borders breeched. Rosie DiManno is a columnist based in Toronto covering sports and current affairs.

Rosie DiManno : During a summer of violence in Toronto these Black lives should matter too. Rosie DiManno : In Toronto , no neighbourhood is immune to violence . Not a single area of this city hasn’t experienced violence and the jolt of murder.

What witnesses recounted, however, made it sound like an execution, the gunman firing at Staikos from close range, then jumping into a silver Mercedes that sped away southbound.

Detectives can’t say or don’t know if the victim had been targeted, whether he might have been acquainted with the shooter who took his life, plunging family and friends into shock and grief.

“There was no precipitating event,” said Det. Omar Khan.

But just beneath the heartfelt distress of some locals who commented to the media afterwards, there was also a whiff of indignation — not over the murder, exactly, but that it should have occurred in so pleasant and tony a milieu. As if such low-life street violence is an interloper thereabouts. They couldn’t have imagined such a thing.

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Opinion | Rosie Dimanno : Toronto van tragedy bonds city in blood. The difference between terror (overwhelming fear and anxiety) and terrorism (the calculated use of violence and “terror” to achieve defined political goals) is a clearly defined distinction.

Rosie DiManno (born c. 1956) is a Canadian journalist who has worked at the Toronto Star since beginning her career in 1975. In 2012 the Canadian Olympic Committee honored DiManno for covering over 10 Olympic games. Dimanno was born in Toronto to Italian immigrants.

Well, people have short memories because it has happened thereabouts and in the near vicinity before. A 29-year-old doctor battered to death by two men in the underground parking garage of her highrise Bay Street apartment building, stealing $50 from her purse. The Just Desserts murder of a 23-year-old hairdresser only a little ways north during an armed robbery. Those are only a couple of pointless slayings that come immediately to mind.

On May 23, not that far away in the Annex, Abbegail Elliott was stabbed to death in an apartment.

Where do we erect these imaginary fences, corralling off neighbourhoods as safer than others, less inclined to bloodshed than others, as if dwellers there are living in a different city, a different country, and the malevolent don’t get a visa.

There’s no such thing in Toronto, not a single area of this city that hasn’t experienced violence and the jolt of murder.

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Opinion | Rosie DiManno : Bullet marks on a fence, two children in hospital: signs of the times. Like when a young man shot up the Eaton Centre food court in 2012 and then a group of young men shot up a neighbourhood block party on Danzig St. the same year.

But we pay more attention, it seems, react with greater outrage, when the victims are … what? Law-abiding citizens who didn’t bring the savagery upon themselves, because of the people they might have known, the places they frequented, the troubled neighbourhoods where they resided.

The city shivered right down to its toes when billionaire philanthropists Barry and Honey Sherman were found dead inside their North Toronto home in what police initially suggested (via leaks) had been a murder-suicide — until findings by a second, independent autopsy, arranged by the family, pointed to a double homicide and detectives announced in January they were treated the deaths as that: Two suspicious deaths, two murders, targeted.

Tens of thousands of words in media coverage have since been devoted to the mystery, the homicides still unsolved.

A high-profile murder mystery is always compelling, of course, and the Shermans were publicly mourned by equally high-profile personages, right up to the prime minister of Canada.

Who mourns, to such attendant public grief, for Jaiden Jackson, captured on security video as he ran for his life into a parking garage, pursued by two gunmen on foot and a third in a car, firing at the 28-year-old relentlessly?

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Rosie DiManno . rdimanno@thestar.ca. Rosie DiManno is a columnist who writes about current affairs and sports. Read her a 416-869-4923.

Contact details and recent articles for Rosie DiManno , TorontoStar (email and Twitter). In Toronto , no neighbourhood is immune to violence . Not a single area of this city hasn’t experienced violence and the jolt of murder → Read More.

Or 21-year-old York U student Venojan Suthesan, gunned down at Lester B. Pearson Collegiate Institute not long after he’d completed his shift at a local restaurant, changing clothes at home before setting out for the gym.

Or 18-year-old Israel Edwards, shot and killed at Yonge-Dundas Square.

Eight murders in the brief span of 11 days.

All were among nine “May Murders” — six shot, two stabbed, one cause of death unknown, or at least not revealed yet by detectives.

That was Rhoderie Estrada, a 41-year-old nurse and mother, found unresponsive in the bedroom of her home near Pape Ave., apparently discovered by her husband when he returned from work.

That murder did resonate for more than a day, more than a fleeting news broadcast, because the alleged killer had climbed into her house through a side window. Yostin Murillo, who had been living in — and been kicked out of — Toronto shelters was quickly arrested, charged with first-degree murder. A second suspect, David Beak, 23, also of no fixed address, was arrested on Friday and charged with first-degree murder as well.

Estrada did not know her killer, said lead homicide investigator Det.-Sgt. Mike Carbone.

Queried about the murder again on Friday, Carbone emphasized to the Star that he never said the killing was “random.”

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How naive we have been, whistling by the graveyard as carnage was wrought in European and American cities, Rosie DiManno writes. A trail of blood and wreckage stretching from Finch to Sheppard on a sunny spring afternoon in Toronto .

“I can’t tell you why that house was targeted. I have an idea but I can’t say.”

Carbone well understands why the Estrada murder struck fear into the heart of city dwellers. He came in through the window. Could have been anybody slain in the presumed sanctuary of their home.

“It’s not something you expect to happen when you’re home reading a book or watching TV.”

But of course other innocents have been killed in their homes, even children struck by bullets that were not intended for them.

Oh, but those aren’t your safe neighbourhoods, are they?

Those many Black mothers, grieving for their dead Black sons, exist in an alternate universe.

They’re in Jane-Finch and Regent Park and the public housing canyons of St. Jamestown … Rexdale … Lawrence Heights … Danzig …and my own criminally plagued ’hood, Moss Park.

I know plenty of homicide cops and they are the top drawer of policing. I don’t believe they rank victims by tier of importance, categorizing any one loss of life greater than another. Toronto Police may have failed the Gay Village community over the years when a serial killer was allegedly preying on gay men. But Project Houston was unable to find a link between the three men originally reported missing until Project Prism began cracking open the cases of the disappeared last summer and Bruce McArthur was ultimately charged with the murder of two males that eventually became eight men.

On Saturday, the eve of Portugal Day in Toronto, 19-year-old Aaron Rankine Wright was both struck by an SUV and then stabbed to death in a Little Portugal laneway as he was pedalling to work, a 17-year-old charged with first-degree murder with police seeking two other suspects.

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It’s hard to see what there is to criminally investigate: no alleged violence , no coercion, no intimidation, no exploitation and only the flimsiest Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. To order copies of Toronto Star articles, please go to: www.TorontoStarReprints.com.

Topix › Violent Crime › Rosie DiManno : During a summer of vio Mourners attend a candlelight vigil held for slain rapper Jahvante Smart, known in the industry as Smoke Dawg, in Toronto on July 2. Not any less Blacks murdered by Blacks during a spree of gun violence that has seized the city in recent

Homicide No. 39 in 2018.

A great many murders in less than six months, differing in how they were committed, though guns are the primary common denominator.

The notorious Year of the Gun, back in 2005, hit an apogee of murders. But if there was any comfort in that shooting spree, it was that gangs were mostly preying on each other. It was their private little world of mayhem.

There seems nothing to connect the homicides this year, or not that police have been able to establish, says Insp. Bryan Bott, head of homicide.

“Are some of them related? Not that we’ve been able to determine. Is that good news or bad news? I guess you can spin it either way. Of course it’s always bad news when someone is murdered.”

Year to date: 175 shootings, compared to 149 at the same point in 2017, 164 in 2016.

What’s most worrisome is that, in the May murder frenzy, only two of the homicides have been solved.

It’s harder, criminal experts say, to solve homicides committed by guns. The forensics provide fewer clues.

Bott emphasizes that if the 10 deaths that resulted from the April van rampage on north Yonge Street are stripped out of the stats, Toronto’s murder rate is close to “normal” for 2018.

“The murder rate has been fairly consistent in the last eight to 10 years. And we always see a flurry of such events when the weather gets warmer.’’

The clearance rate on homicides this year — the solve figure — is at 54 per cent.

Toronto is still, relatively speaking, a safe city compared to like-sized metropolises in the U.S. We’re not so enthralled by guns. Most of us do not have them easy at hand.

But most of us aren’t doing the murdering either.

And most of us, the rest of us, especially those so fortunately buffered from the violence, have empathy that runs about a millimetre deep.

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