First-degree murder charges in Toronto mass shooting

Chris Doucette and Maryam Shah, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:52 PM ET

TORONTO — An 18-year-old man has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder following a deadly gun battle between rival gangs at an east Toronto housing complex -- the city’s worst mass shooting.

After four months of investigation into the gang-related shootout on Danzig Street that killed two people and wounded 23 others, including a toddler, Toronto police revealed Thursday that a man who was already in custody on other charges now faces murder charges.

“This investigation is far from over,” Staff-Insp. Greg McLane said.

Shaquan “Bam Bam” Mesquito has been behind bars since he was allegedly caught with a handgun days after the July 16 shooting on Danzig. He was charged then with firearms offences and uttering threats stemming from an incident that occurred at the townhouse complex prior to the shootout.

McLane said “further investigation” and forensic testing of the gun Mesquito was allegedly armed with led police to lay the new charges, which also includes one count of attempted murder, 23 counts of aggravated assault and one count of reckless discharge of a firearm.

It’s believed 100-150 people were at the party.

Members of the notorious Galloway Boys, a street gang from the area, were among those in attendance and they “took ownership” of the party, McLane said.

It’s believed Mesquito, an alleged member of the rival Malvern Crew, was denied entry to the party.

“It is alleged that the Malvern crew member left the barbecue, called a number of his associate gang members, and attended back at the barbecue to confront the members of the Galloway Boys to seek revenge for being turned away from attending the barbecue,” McLane said.

Gunfire erupted soon after, sending partygoers running for their lives.

Two innocent bystanders -- Joshua Yasay, 23, and Shyanne Charles, 14 -- were killed.

Mesquito appeared in court Wednesday and was remanded in custody.

However, McLane does not believe the accused was “solely responsible for the carnage” and expects others will face murder charges as the investigation moves forward.

Composite drawings of another two men were released Thursday and McLane urged the public to help investigators identify the pair so they can determine “what role if any” they had in the shootout.

He said police would also like to talk to any partygoers who have yet to come forward, including those who were “G-checking” the crowd to ensure there were no guns at the party.

McLane said investigators are probing at least three other shootings that occurred after the Danzig Street shooting and may have been retaliatory, including the shooting of a 17-year-old boy on a bike in September at a housing complex.

Chief William Blair, who was at Thursday’s press conference, commended investigators and echoed McLane’s sentiments.

“This is a very significant development but we’re not done by a long shot,” he said.

chris.doucette@sunmedia.ca


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