TORONTO - An accused gunman charged with firing a weapon at a Scarborough barbeque where two people were killed and 23 others wounded arrived in Canada as a refugee from Somalia seeking a better life, border officials say.
But the 19-year-old allegedly “fell in with the wrong crowd” after obtaining Canadian citizenship, officers of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) said.
The officers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said since he has been granted Canadian citizenship, it would be nearly impossible to deport him in the event of a conviction.
Nahom Tsegazab, 19, of Toronto, has been charged with the reckless discharge of a firearm. He is expected back in court this week and is the only suspect charged in the July 16 mass shooting.
Police said the suspect, who was believed to be the intended target, was injured in the Danzig St. shootout that killed Shyanne Charles, 14, and Joshua Yasay, 23, of Ajax.
About 300 people attended the funeral services for Charles on Saturday in Scarborough. Yasay was buried last week.
Officers suspect the gunfight, which was the worst in Toronto, stemmed from a dispute between the Galloway Boys and Malvern Crew street gangs over turf or drugs.
Police and community residents are hoping that there is no violence on Saturday along the Lake Shore Blvd. W. route of the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival parade. About 1 million people are expected for the festival that contributes $400 million to Ontario’s economy.
The concerns have prompted police to plan to deploy addtional officers along the route and check the bags of most Carnival revellers for contraband or weapons.
Meanwhile, Customs and immigration officers said they want to be included in a police hunt for gunmen in future shootings.
Jean-Pierre Fortin, national president of the Customs and Immigration Union, said some of his armed officers should be patrolling with Toronto Police as they investigate shootings.
“Our officers have expertise in immigration matters and can help police in these difficult cases,” Fortin said on Sunday. “Our officers are armed and can help police make our communities safer.”
Toronto cops now have a liasion officer they can contact to obtain immigration information on suspects.
Customs officers also claim more contraband, including guns and weapons, may be smuggled into the country with the planned federal government layoffs of 1,351 CBSA officers.