TORONTO - Rob Ford vowed Tuesday to make life “miserable” for the gun-toting thugs turning Toronto’s streets into “shooting galleries.”
“Two innocent young people are dead because some idiot thugs decided to settle a disagreement with violence,” Ford said. “This is not acceptable in our city. I will not accept it. I am furious about it.
“It is time to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ It is time to take action against these spineless cowards causing the violence,” he added.
Ford said city, provincial and federal officials will work together to target Toronto’s gang violence.
“We must use every legal means to make life for these thugs miserable, to put them behind bars, or to run them out of town,” he said. “We will not rest until being a gang member is a miserable, undesirable life.”
Meanwhile, Ford downplayed comparisons between Toronto and Detroit made by Gene Jones, the new head of Toronto Community Housing Corp., who told reporters said he’d never seen slayings to this effect when he worked in the Michigan city.
“Toronto is no different than Detroit,” Jones said.
“I can’t speak for Mr. Jones,” Ford countered. “We just hired him, but I can assure you Toronto is not like Detroit.”
Ford added, “We have a couple of unfortunate, isolated incidents. I consider this isolated. This is the safest city in the world ... the numbers show that.
“Everyone has to move on and carry on with their lives.”
Escorted by several officers, Ford toured the housing complex where two people were killed, 23 were wounded by gunshots and one person was injured when they were trampled. He described it as “the aftermath of a party, except for a lot of gun casings.”
Ford said he saw empty booze bottles, cans, food and plates.
“But what bothered me were the gun casings,” he said. “I didn’t see any evidence of injury.”
The mayor left the scene to meet with Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair.
Shortly after the deadly shootout, Ford issued a statement expressing his anger and offering condolences to the families.
“I’d like to extend my condolences to the young lady and young man who passed away,” he said.
Just six weeks ago, in the wake of the Eaton Centre shooting that claimed two lives and left five innocent bystanders hurt, Ford assured citizens that Toronto was still a “safe” city.
Since Nixon Nirmalendran, 22, and Ahmed Hassan, 24, were killed in the mall’s food court on June 2, bullets have been flying in Toronto almost daily. Four others have been gunned down and there have been several high-profile shootings.
“While we try to understand this tragic event, I want to assure residents that this horrific, criminal behaviour will not be tolerated in our city,” Ford said of the latest shooting.
Ford asked the public to come forward in this most recent case.
“Hundreds of people were at the party Monday night. Dozens saw what happened. Many people know who the gang members are. We have the greatest police service in the world, but they need your help,” Ford said.