Saunders repeats need for holistic approach as shootings spike on Canada Day weekend

Mark Saunders

Toronto's police chief repeated the need for a more holistic approach to solving crime in the city after - as has happened before - violence spiked over the Canada Day weekend. 

"Usually in the summers, there is more gunplay and we know that and we have a lot of resources put in the right places," Mark Saunders said Tuesday. "Most of the gunplay has street gang overtones to it."

"If you don't have a high-risk lifestyle, the odds of you being injured by gunplay is extremely low." 

There were four shootings in three days over the long weekend, along with a fatal stabbing and following the shooting death of an innocent 17-year-old late Thursday night. 

25-year-old Christopher Teape and 32-year-old Ahmed Mohamud died and another man was injured, in what police consider a targeted shooting, at an apartment building at Jane and Weston Road around 1:30 a.m. Saturday. 

Then just before 3 a.m. Sunday at the Orchid nightclub on Peter Street, 33-year-old Jordan Armstrong, a promoter for the venue. 

Jaydin Simpson was the teenager killed late Thursday, shocking his friends and family, having just graduated high school and was on his way to university. 

"Anyone being shot is a concern," Saunders said, adding he's been deploying officers differently, but didn't go into details. 

Similar violence happened on the 2018 Canada Day weekend as well, when three men were killed and several other people were hurt in shootings. 

"This is not about solving murder cases, this is about preventing murder cases from happening," Saunders said, after addressing 153 students at the Youth in Policing Initiative, which pairs teenagers with different departments to learn about policing. 

Saunders said the program is one example of reaching youth early on. 

"The exposure piece to those positive role models is critical to some of the fantastic testimonials that we have had," he said. 

Saunders didn't speak about specific cases from the weekend, but did say some were targeted. 

He added his officers will continue to respond quickly to violence, but repeated his message that it's only one part of fighting gun violence. 

"We're making those arrests but that is not the solution, there has to be a holistic approach if we're going to get it right," he said. "Front end, back end and of course the enforcement piece that we do and we do very well." 

Like the weekend murders, there has been no arrest in the death of Jaydin Simpson, the teenager killed in Scarborough late Thursday.