A 17-year-old boy killed in a shooting in Mississauga, Ont., has been identified as Jonathan Davis, a Grade 12 student just weeks into his final year of high school.
Davis’s life was cut short in what police are calling a “brazen” act of violence outside an apartment complex.
Selma Alincy, a friend of Davis’s mother for more than 20 years, said the teen was a “respectable young man,” quiet, loved video games, was great with electronics and always there to help his father who, she said, has been losing his eyesight.
“He was a good kid, didn’t hurt anyone,” Alincy said.
Davis’s mother was at the complex at the time of the shooting, and ran outside when she heard gunfire, Alincy said. Seeing her son hurt, she rushed over and tried to apply pressure to the wound, before paramedics arrived trying in vain to perform life-saving measures.
Davis, a Grade 12 student at Lincoln M. Alexander Secondary School, was killed when shots rang out at a parkette on Darcel Avenue near Morning Star and Goreway Drive, west of Toronto. Police say the teen was an innocent bystander to the violence.
Emergency crews were called to the apartment complex at about 6:15 p.m. ET. Davis was was pronounced dead at the scene.
Five people were wounded in the shooting, including a 13-year-old girl; a 16-year-old boy; two 17-year-old boys; and a woman in her 50s. All but the woman have since been released from hospital, police say. None of the victims were related to one another, they added.
Peel Regional Police Chief Chris McCord said Sunday that the intended targets of the shooting were preparing to film a rap video at the time of the incident. Investigators believe the attack was motivated by a rap music video filmed in the same area and released last week.
“This was an ambush-type attack,” he said.
“This was very brazen,” McCord said. “There were families gathered around the ice cream truck and those parents and children fled in the heel of bullets as they were fired into the complex.”
Investigators believe at least seven shooters were involved in the gunfire, armed mostly with semi-automatic handguns. Officers recovered more than 100 shell casings at the crime scene.
By Sunday night, a small makeshift memorial had been set up in the lobby of the building where Davis lived — with cards, flowers and a few refreshments in support of the families affected by the shooting.
“Our investigation leads us to believe that the young man who died last night was actually an innocent victim caught up in this indiscriminate attack,” McCord said at a news conference near the scene.
“The attackers had complete disregard for public safety within our community and the community made up of the people who live here.”
The driver of the ice cream truck left the scene as the shooting unfolded, McCord said, adding police are hoping he or she will come forward.
Officers arrived at the parkette Saturday night to find Davis suffering from gunshot wounds. His death marks Peel Region’s 18th homicide victim of the year.
Some of the injured are also believed to be innocent victims caught in the gunfire, McCord said, adding the victims were not related to one another.
Police have so far not made any arrests or recovered any weapons. No suspect descriptions have been released.
Speaking to reporters late Saturday night, McCord acknowledged there was concern for public safety.
McCord said Sunday all of shooters were dressed in dark clothing and some were wearing balaclavas to conceal their identities. They covertly approached the parkette on foot by the side of the building, and once in position, opened fire, he said. They fled on foot.
“I want to reassure the community that public safety is our priority for Peel Regional Police and this investigation will take some time as we go through all of the process.”
McCord added this kind of violence is “not common” for Mississauga.
Peel police’s homicide and missing persons bureau is continuing to investigate.
Mayor ‘shocked’ by shooting
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, who also spoke at the news conference said the incident was “a all for us to let us know that we can and should do more.”
Crombie, on the verge of tears, said Mississauga needs its share of provincial funding to combat guns and gangs. The city of Toronto has been given money to deal with its gun violence problem and Mississauga needs financial support too, she added.
“My heart goes out to the family of the innocent victim. I’m so saddened and shocked by this incident,” Crombie said.
As a member of the police services board, she said there could be a need to bring back a community police station in Malton, the area where the shooting occurred, and step up the police presence.
Crombie also thanked the police and paramedics for their swift response.
On Sunday, police were still canvassing the neighbourhood, knocking on doors in the hopes of finding witnesses and security camera video.
Officers also sent out a drone to obtain an aerial view of the crime scene and brought in a metal detector to scan for stray bullets in the grass.
At the apartment complex, residents in the area were still reeling from the violence.
Marjorie Judhan, 73, who lives in the apartment complex, said she initially thought the gunshots were firecrackers, but moved away from the living room after she heard more shots ring out.
She said she was so shaken by the incident that she couldn’t bring herself to follow her Sunday morning routine.
“Usually I go to church but the way I’m feeling — I can’t,” she said.