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Police investigate a fatal shooting at Toronto's Eaton Centre on June 3, 2012. (Brett Gundlock for The Globe and Mail)
Police investigate a fatal shooting at Toronto's Eaton Centre on June 3, 2012. (Brett Gundlock for The Globe and Mail)

Police identify second victim of Eaton Centre shooting Add to ...

Toronto Police have confirmed that Nixon Nirmalendran, 22, was the second victim of last week’s Eaton Centre shooting.

Mr. Nirmalendran died of his injuries Monday after a gunman opened fire in the mall's busy food court on Saturday.

Ahmed Hassan, 24, died on the day of the shooting.

Accused shooter Christopher Husbands is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday at 2 p.m., according to Toronto police spokesperson Constable Tony Vella. His charges are expected to be upgraded at that time, Constable Tony Vella said.

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Mr. Husbands, Mr. Nirmalendran and Mr. Hassan were all affiliated with the Sic Thugs gang, a person familiar with Toronto’s Regent Park public-housing complex told The Globe last week. Comprising roughly 30 members and associates, including some aspiring rappers, the Sic Thugs were formed about three years ago, and grew out of the older Point Blank gang.

The motive for last week’s violence is uncertain.

Mr. Nirmalendran had a history with police and the criminal justice system that dated back as far as 2007.

That year, according to Mr. Nirmalendran’s criminal defence lawyer, Christopher Assie, Mr. Nirmalendran and a friend, while armed with a pellet gun, tried to rob a group of kids in Riverdale Park for their cellphones and the money in their pockets.

Mr. Nirmalendran pled guilty to charges stemming from the incident and spent 15 months in jail. He had turned 18 just weeks prior to the crime, according to Mr. Assie.

According to court documents, on August 25, 2008, police raided Mr. Nirmalendran’s home after hearing allegations that he was dealing crack cocaine from his bedroom window in Regent Park. They found crack cocaine, cash and a loaded 9 mm semi-automatic handgun on the premises and charged Mr. Nirmalendran with a range of offences. Mr. Nirmalendran beat the charges, successfully arguing that police had violated his Canadian Charter rights in executing their search warrant.

In December 2009, Mr. Nirmalendran was taken into custody for possession of drugs for the purposes of trafficking. Less than one month later, Mr. Nirmalendran would come to face a murder charge.

He and five other men were charged in the January 2010 beating death of Kevon Phillip at the Don Jail. Mr. Assie said the case against Mr. Nirmalendran stemmed from blood found on his prison jumper and shoes and said the Crown ultimately withdrew the charges.

Police had no further details to report about a post-mortem examination of Mr. Nirmalendran that had been scheduled for Tuesday morning.

Mr. Assie said there was more to Mr. Nirmalendran than his criminal record.

“Just going by that he seems like a bad guy,” said Mr. Assie. “He had a great sense of humor. I was quite fond of him.”

Mr. Assie said Mr. Nirmalendran came to Canada from Sri Lanka along with his Tamil parents, neither of whom speak English.

According to Mr. Assie, Mr. Nirmalendran was one credit short of graduating from high school when he was picked up for possession and he had been accepted to Centennial College for its Children and Youth program.

“He appeared to be looking forward to life,” said Mr. Assie.

Investigators are still looking to speak with anyone who witnessed the shooting, which also injured several other people.

On Monday evening, people braved the rain at Yonge-Dundas Square to hear speakers discuss the impact of gun violence at the Vigil for a United Gun-Free Toronto.

“We are not aware that mothers have moved their children and families into the basement of their homes in fear of a random shooting,” said Ward 27 councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, who organized the event to create a platform for community voices on the effects of gun violence.

“There's other ones that died, too. Nobody spoke up for them,” said speaker Kimberly Belle, a youth program and community engagement worker at Scadding Court Community Centre, whose brother died from gun violence.

The event was held across the street from the Eaton Centre where the shooting was seen as an isolated and random incident. However, neighbourhoods like Alexandra Park and Regent Park where gun violence is a regular threat, are a short walk away. “This is happening literally a 15-minute walk in either direction east or west from the downtown corridor,” Ms. Wong-Tam said.

Others emphasized the importance of building stronger communities to address the causes of violent behaviour. “These young people didn't come from Mars,” said Kofi Hope, the managing director for Community Empowering Enterprises. “They were raised here in Toronto and we need to take ownership for them.”

Summer community programs are another issue. When the school year ends in June, young people will have free time. “If we cut back on the services and recreational programs, they can be taken in the wrong direction,” Ms. Wong-Tam said.

Colleen Lavallée, a resident of Alexandra Park, said children from her community give up and make the wrong choices. “The monsters you read about in the paper, we see them before they become like that,” she broke into tears as she spoke. “We lost them before they picked up a gun.”

With reports from Kim Mackrael, Carys Mills, Adrian Morrow and Melinda Maldonado

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