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Canada: Gangs or drugs played a role in six of the 17 homicides

Discussion in 'Legal' started by WAGCEVP, Dec 31, 2003.

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    WAGCEVP Member

    May 26, 2003
    Gangs or drugs played a role in six of the 17 homicides

    PUBLICATION: Edmonton Journal
    DATE: 2003.12.31
    EDITION: Final
    SECTION: CityPlus
    PAGE: B3
    BYLINE: Florence Loyie
    SOURCE: The Edmonton Journal
    ILLUSTRATION: Photo: Ed Kaiser, The Journal, File / Donna Riley, mother of19-year-old drive-by shooting victim Terry Whitford, places her hand on a picture of Terry as a one-year-old child, appearing on right in photo, with his brother James. Terry's murder remains unsolved.; Photo: Journal Stock / (Alan Luan) Chung; Photo: Journal Stock / (Keith Hunter) Raglon; Photo: Journal Stock / (Richard) Prasad; Photo: Journal Stock / (Genevieve) Stokowski


    Death toll down, but gangs worry police


    EDMONTON - Edmonton recorded fewer killings in 2003 than it has seen in more than two decades.

    Gangs or drugs played a role in six of the 17 homicides, Staff Sgt. Brian Lobay said, adding guns were involved in each gang-related slaying. "It's a concern because with the use of firearms, the potential for bystanders getting hit is quite high," he said.

    This year's lower death toll, compared with last year's 25 slayings, may be the result of the work of units targeting gangs, family violence and parole violation, Lobay said.

    "You never know how many homicides these teams could be preventing, much like the gang unit. Granted we had six gang shootings this year, but who knows how many they prevented."

    1. Feb. 3. Alan Luan Chung, 23. A convicted killer with gang affiliations, Chung was inside a red Honda Prelude with four other people at 100th Avenue and 105th Street when a dark sport utility vehicle pulled alongside about 5 a.m. Someone inside the SUV opened fire, hitting two people inside the car. At 5:15 a.m., police responded to a call at 111th Avenue and 106th Street. They found Chung on the road, dead of multiple gunshot wounds, and the Honda hung up on a snowbank. No one has been arrested.

    2. Feb. 26. Raed Sanjad, 23. At 5:30 p.m., two armed men burst into The Lot at 7104 76th Ave. and opened fire. Sanjad was killed. His cousin, Tyler Sanjad, 20, and a 20-year-old family friend, Robbie, were wounded. Police say the shooting was gang-related. On March 1, heavily armed tactical members arrested Arafat Fattah, 23, after an hour-long standoff at a south-side equipment rental store. A second suspect has not been arrested. Fattah was charged with first-degree murder and other related charges. His five-day preliminary hearing is to continue April 17.

    3. March 25. Kyle Driscoll, 19. The young man's badly decomposed body was discovered wrapped up under a bed at the Salvation Army men's shelter near 96th Street and 102nd Avenue. The room's tenant, who worked for the shelter, had been kicked out the night before. Driscoll was last seen at the shelter about three weeks before his body was found. Mark Valkonen, 32, was charged with breach of probation and offering indignity to human remains.
    His preliminary hearing is scheduled to continue Feb. 24.

    4. April 7. Lorne Hicks, 57. Police were called to a rooming house at 9696 Jasper Avenue after the building manager found a man's body underneath blankets. It's not known how long the body had been there, but police said it appeared he had been dead for some time. Police have determined how he died but have not released that information. No arrests have been made.

    5. April 24. Terry Whitford, 19. Two days before he was killed in a drive-by shooting on Walterdale Hill, Whitford told his mother he needed to leave the city and hugged her goodbye. He never got out of Edmonton. At around 11 a.m., as he was driving down Walterdale Hill in a blue Chevy Cavalier, the driver of an older red car pulled alongside and fired several shots, killing Whitford.
    Investigators believe Whitford was involved in a street-level drug dispute. No arrests have been made.

    6. May 3. Grace Lafantaisie, 71. Police charged David Joseph Lafantaisie, 42, with second-degree murder and offering an indignity to a body after receiving a tip regarding the senior's death. The son had allegedly been living with his mother's decaying body in their rental home for about two weeks before police arrived. An autopsy found she had been strangled. A preliminary hearing has been set for Jan. 29.

    7. May 3. Ikeche Bates, 21. Bates was gunned down shortly after 6 p.m. on Clareview Road near 132nd Avenue as he returned to his car following a conversation with two people in a small, red car. The car fled the scene after the shooting, which police said was gang-related. Bates died later in hospital. Terence Dashielle Miller, 20, of Edmonton was charged with second-degree murder and being an accessory after the fact. His preliminary hearing is set for March. A 16-year-old male, who cannot be identified, was charged with second-degree murder. He is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 16.

    8. May 9. Julia Moen, 33. Police and emergency workers were called to a home near 92nd Street and 90th Avenue where they found a man and a woman, each with a gunshot wound to the head. Moen died in hospital May 1. Police charged her common-law husband, Jason Lundgren, 31, with first-degree murder after he emerged from a coma later that month. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 26.

    9. May 23. Samuel Joseph Sagimiuk, 73. About 11:35 a.m., police were called to Butte Apartments on 95th Street after a resident discovered his elderly neighbour dead in his blood-splattered suite. A knife was also found. Investigators have released few details about the death. No arrests have been made.

    10. July 8. Christopher Jordan Nijjer, 24. Nijjer was stabbed following an alleged early morning argument in an apartment suite on 102nd Avenue. He was taken to hospital, where he died July 12 from a stab wound to the chest. Police issued a warrant for second-degree murder for Alex Jae Song, 23, who was arrested by Calgary police earlier this month.

    11. July 23. Paul David Neilson, 44. Police continue to hunt for six men responsible for his stabbing. Police found Neilson about 4:20 a.m, lying face down in a pool of blood in the middle of the road near 108A Avenue and 95th Street. Witnesses say Neilson was chased by six men who cornered him at a locked entrance of an inner-city rooming house. There they beat and kicked Neilson before stabbing him, first with a knife, then repeatedly with a shard of glass. Police have no motive and no descriptions of the suspects.

    12. Sept. 21. Keith Hunter Raglon, 20. Raglon was shot outside a party at the Athlone Community Centre after he became embroiled in an argument with another party-goer. A Canada-wide warrant for second-degree murder and weapons charges has been issued for Shaun Toon, 21. Police say the shooting is gang-related.

    13. Sept. 23. Kerry Lawrence, 50. Deborah Lawrence became worried when her husband of nearly 30 years didn't make his daily call to her workplace. She left work early to check on him and found him dead in their bedroom. He'd been stabbed in the chest. Police said it appears someone broke into the couple's home. No arrests have been made.

    14. Sept. 25. Eleazor Robert Giroux, 25. Giroux died in hospital after being shot in the back of the head while driving on 127th Avenue near 104th Street. Someone inside a vehicle following Giroux fired the shot. Giroux was known to the police department's gang unit. No arrests have been made.

    15. Oct. 8. Richard Prasad, 17. Police found Prasad's body at about 2:20 a.m. in the driver's seat of a blue Mazda that had struck a light pole on 85th Street near 23rd Avenue. Prasad, known to have drug-gang affiliations, was shot in the chest. Darcy Evan Fouquet, 40, and Sean Luther Reaugh, 24, were charged with first-degree murder. Charges against Reaugh were stayed by the Crown on Nov. 3. A preliminary hearing for Fouquet is set for July 5.

    16. Oct. 27. Grant Noland Slowsky, 42. Police were called to a parking lot near 127th Avenue and 91st Street about 11 a.m. after a report of two men fighting. They found Slowsky dead from a stab wound to the chest. James Anthony Bulloch, 40, was charged with first-degree murder.

    17. Nov. 28. Genevieve Stokowski, 70. Police were called at 3:20 a.m. to a house on 88th Street by the homeowner, who reported a suspicious car parked in his backyard. Police traced the licence plate to an address on 80th Street. When they arrived, they found the overhead door to the garage open and Stokowski dead on the floor at the rear of the double garage. Police have not revealed how she died but believe she was killed during a robbery. Police are looking for the black purse and bag she was carrying after visiting her elderly mother in a nursing home.

    WAGCEVP Member

    May 26, 2003
    Toronto Star: "Illegal handguns were used to kill seven of the 12 homicide victims"

    Toronto Star: "Illegal handguns were used to kill seven of the 12 homicide victims"


    PUBLICATION: Toronto Star
    DATE: 2003.12.31
    PAGE: B01
    SOURCE: Toronto Star
    BYLINE: Bob Mitchell, Leslie Ferenc and Stan Josey
    ILLUSTRATION: Jim Wilkes/toronto star Yuri and Irina Vasiliev, whose sonAlex, 21, and his best friend, Denys Khomovych, were shot to death on Jan. 3 in Alex's apartment, stand by his grave at St. Elias Church in rural Brampton.


    Gunplay blamed in area killings Peel highest homicide toll for 905; Illegal guns used in 7 Peel slayings Six-year-old boy among the victims


    Illegal handguns were used to kill seven of the 12 homicide victims in Peel Region in 2003.

    "The use of handguns was an alarming trend for us this past year," Peel homicide Inspector Mike MacMullen said. "It's become clear that getting access to illegal handguns has become easier and there is less hesitation to use them."

    Peel, the largest of the 905 regions, with more than one million people, also had the highest number of homicides. York Region, by comparison, reported eight homicides, Durham had three and Halton one.

    Just three days into the year, Peel homicide investigators found themselves probing three disturbing deaths- the gut-wrenching accidental shooting of a 6-year-old boy by his 7-year-old sister and the execution-style slaying of two young men in their apartment.

    A frantic 911 call just after 2 p.m. on Jan. 3 led police to a bedroom in a Mississauga townhouse where they discovered a 6-year-old boy dying from a gunshot wound to his face.

    The children had been playing with a loaded .45 calibre semi-automatic handgun allegedly brought into the close-knit family's home by their 22-year-old brother. The Ashgrove Public School youngster died a short time later in hospital.

    Specific details remain under a publication ban, but police indicated the children had previously played with the gun, but didn't realize it was real.

    The boy's sister was too young to be charged. But the older brother, a Humber College business student, was charged with criminal negligence causing death and various firearms offences, including unsafe storage of a weapon and ammunition. He has no previous criminal record and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing next August.

    About six hours later, three more families were devastated, this time by the execution-style shootings of Denys Khomovych, 19, of Toronto and his best friend, Alexandr Vasiliev, 21, in a fifth-floor apartment on Riverspray Cres. in Mississauga.

    Khomovych died at the scene and Vasiliev died in hospital the following day. A third victim, Petr Vladimirski, 25, survived a bullet wound to his head.

    Police issued a first-degree murder arrest warrant for Joseph Braga Prieto, 31, of Toronto. Five days later, Prieto committed suicide after a 71/2-hour standoff in a Scarborough motel. Prieto, a career criminal and known drug dealer, was on probation when police say he shot the two young men to death.

    An alleged accomplice, Adrian Almarales, 44, was arrested later that day and charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

    Few details about the double homicide have been revealed, but sources say Prieto mistakenly believed at least one of the young men had tried to hit on his girlfriend. The young men had befriended their killer, but were unaware of his real name or his criminal background.

    It wasn't long before Peel homicide investigators had their fourth case, this time a domestic murder-suicide.

    The victims, Victoria David, 52, a vice-principal of Mississauga's Holy Name of Mary High School, and her husband Emmanuel, 56, an avionics technician with Air Canada, were found in the master bedroom of their home Jan. 7.

    Police would later determine Emmanuel strangled his wife, then tried to make it look like a suicide before hanging himself in their Willowbank Trail home.

    Peel's fifth homicide victim of the year died in the arms of his girlfriend after being shot during a violent home invasion at his apartment on Railroad St. in Brampton on Jan. 31.

    Darwin Pozo, 21, of Brampton, was shot moments after two masked men burst into the sixth floor apartment looking for drugs and money, after a woman initially knocked on the door.

    Dwayne Campbell, 24, and Mark Burrell, 23, both of Mississauga, were arrested several months later and charged with first-degree murder. Their preliminary hearing is expected to take place next spring. Alecia Rowe, 19, was charged with manslaughter but pleaded guilty to robbery and will be sentenced April 17.

    Nearly six weeks passed before Peel's next homicide. On March 14, Demar Ranglin, 21, of Mississauga was shot to death in a car parked in front of a Mississauga convenience store.

    Keith Brissett, 24, of Mississauga, turned himself in a few days later and was charged with first-degree murder. Police say the victim and alleged shooter knew each other and the death occurred as the result of a dispute. Brissett's preliminary hearing is scheduled to begin Jan. 19.

    On April 1, Canada's new Youth Criminal Justice Act came into effect, the same day that Peel homicide investigators made an arrest in the region's seventh killing, that of a 14-year-old Grade 9 student at Brampton's Heart Lake Secondary School.

    A publication ban prevents the reporting of most of the details, but police charged a fellow student, also 14, with first-degree murder by strangulation.

    Police said the teens knew each other, but there was no indication of any long-standing dispute between them.

    The region's eighth killing occurred during a gun battle in a crowded warehouse party on June 1. Dwayne McLean, 22, of Mississauga, died in hospital after being shot several times at close range at the private party in Brampton.

    In a bizarre turn of events, two Mississauga men initially charged with his death, Tesfa Dunn, 25, and Andre Harrisingh, 21, were set free three months later when prosecutor Stephen Sherriff determined they likely acted in self-defence.

    Police concluded McLean actually fired the shots that started the battle. Although nearly 400 people were in attendance, police said they received little assistance from any of them.

    On June 11, a mysterious 911 phone call led police to the dying body of Margaret Smrekar, a 42-year-old Mississauga woman who had been partially strangled and beaten. She died in hospital.

    The single mother of two young children was found in the basement of her rented townhouse on Credit Woodlands.

    Her ex-husband, Vernon Nichols, 40, was charged with first-degree murder after he was captured near Ottawa. Just before his capture, Nichols shot himself in the stomach, but has since recovered. His preliminary hearing begins Jan. 26.

    Peel's ninth homicide victim of the year was in the wrong place at the wrong time on Aug. 15, the night of the blackout.

    Anastasios (Tom) Garavellos, 25, of Mississauga, was a passenger in a car being driven by a friend just after midnight when it passed in front of a vehicle in which three young men were looking through a telescope, according to police.

    Garavellos was stabbed in a dispute that followed. Hassan Chaudry, 20, of Mississauga, Fahd Hassan, 20, of Mississauga, and Raman Gill, 22, of Mississauga, were charged with manslaughter.

    Also in 2003, Salinder Singh Dhillon was finally freed from prison, only to be slain in the driveway of his Mississauga home Nov. 2.

    There has been no arrest in the shooting, which occurred just days before he was to appear in a Brampton court to be cleared of the 1992 murder of Gurdial Singh Sandhu, a prominent figure in the Malton Sikh temple.

    Dhillon, 41, had been freed after spending 10 years behind bars for the 1995 murder conviction. The Ontario Court of Appeal had overturned his conviction 14 months earlier.

    The final homicide of the year occurred Dec. 17, when Zofia Bonder, 45, was stabbed to death in her Mississauga home. Police charged her husband, Maciej, 46, with second-degree murder.

    In York Region, arrests have been made in all but one of the year's eight homicides.

    The first killing occurred March 19, at the popular Paparazzi Night Club in Richmond Hill. Babak Ansari, 31, was beaten and left unconscious outside the West Beaver Creek nightspot. Six security guards were charged with manslaughter.

    On April 25, Peter Tran, 22, of Toronto, was gunned down in a quiet, secluded Richmond Hill neighbourhood on Gamble Rd., near Bathurst St., after a night out with a friend. Two people have been charged with first-degree murder.

    The region's third homicide of the year, the shooting of a 21-year-old Toronto man outside Canada's Wonderland May 11, was sparked by a simmering feud, police said. Marcel Jessie Lamonday was shot to death near the main gates as the park was closing.

    Two Toronto men, plus a teenaged girl believed to have been carrying a loaded handgun, face first-degree murder charges.

    A Toronto high school student, whose body was found in a Whitchurch-Stouffville field at the end of May, also died of gunshot wounds. One person has been charged with first-degree murder.

    In late July, police responding to a routine call about a dispute at a Vaughan home found Sergey Zdanovich, 41, dead of multiple stab wounds at the Pauline Court home of his former common-law wife. A man, 27, was charged with manslaughter.

    In August, police were called to a home on Dufferin St., north of Highway 9, where they discovered the body of Julie Bernier, 29, beaten to death in her living room. A 28-year-old friend of the mother of two young children has been charged with first-degree murder.

    In September, Joseph Kwaw, 22, who had a history of violence and involvement with drugs, according to homicide investigators, was gunned down in the driveway of his Pugsley Ave. home in Richmond Hill.

    There have been no arrests.

    The year ended in tragedy for a Richmond Hill family when a 17-year-old was charged with first-degree murder in the death of his father.

    Police were called to a townhouse complex on Castle Rock Dr., in December where they found a 52-year-old man lying in a pool of blood on the street with multiple stab wounds to his chest. He was pronounced dead at hospital.

    The father's name can't be released to protect his son's identity, who can't be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

    The three homicides in Durham Region in 2003 is one of the lowest numbers in the 30-year history of the force. "We are happy Durham Region is still a relatively safe place to work and live," said homicide Detective Sergeant Rolf Kluem.

    In January, the death of a Pickering man, Hugh Alexander Cave, 60, found "restrained" in his apartment, was believed linked to an Internet chat room.

    Police eventually located Cave's missing car and the OPP made an arrest in Simcoe, Ont., Feb. 4. Patrick Zahi Simaan, 34, formerly of Toronto, is charged with first-degree murder.

    The region's second homicide came in March, when 30-year-old Laura England was found beaten to death in her Down Cres. home in Oshawa. After a four-month investigation, police charged her husband, John Michael England, 29, with second-degree murder.

    The murder-suicide of a Port Perry Couple on Nov. 30 was the region's third homicide.

    The bodies of George Yeates, 60, and his wife Mary, 57, were discovered by police after the woman's 82-year-old mother did not receive a response when she knocked on the door.

    Friends said the couple had been having marital difficulties and were about to separate.

    In Halton, there was one homicide in 2003.

    An altercation between brothers at an October bush party in Oakville left David Lavery, 22, stabbed to death and his brother Robert, 21, charged with second-degree murder. 'Getting ... illegal handguns has become easier and there is less hesitation to use them.'
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