One year after Toronto subway fare-collector William Anderson was shot and badly wounded at the downtown Dupont station, the $25,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the masked gunman will be renewed Tuesday, along with a fresh appeal for tips.
Now 53, Mr. Anderson remains off the job, still recovering from being shot in the neck and shoulder by his balaclava-clad assailant, who’s believed to have targeted that same station twice before.
The reward was posted in May, and marked a first for the Toronto Transit Commission.
“We take it very seriously, we want this person caught, we want them off the street,” said TTC spokesman Brad Ross, ahead of a lunchtime news conference by colleagues and the Toronto police hold-up squad.
“This was a very brazen act for what amounted to a very small amount of money.”
But what’s also striking is how rare such attacks are.
In the year since Mr. Anderson was shot last Feb 26, not one other TTC employee has been shot, robbed or badly hurt while on duty.
Transit workers routinely get threatened, spat at, and occasionally punched or kicked; such incidents occur on average twice a day somewhere in the TTC system. Bus drivers are particularly vulnerable But even those numbers have dipped lately, Mr. Ross says.
And at subway stations, at least, part of the reason may be the preventive measures implemented since Mr. Anderson was shot: reinforced booths; repositioned closed-circuit monitors, now located directly behind the fare-collector; debit– and credit-card facilities at all stations, so less cash is on hand.
It was early evening, around 7:30 p.m., when he was shot. Wielding a handgun, his assailant walked up to the booth, demanded cash and then fired three times as he walked away, hitting Mr. Anderson twice.
Glimpsed on video, the gunman is believed to be white, heavy set, left-handed and aged between 35 and 50. He’s thought to have struck twice before at the Dupont station, in June and October of 2011.
Today’s news conference will hear from Staff Inspector Mike Earl, who heads the hold-up squad. After Mr. Anderson was shot last year, Insp. Earl suggested it was no coincidence the gunman had targeted the same station three times.
“It could be a comfort zone for this individual, that’s why he keeps going back to the same location,” he said.
“That’s something that hopefully the public can give us a hand in identifying and solving.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416−808−7350, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416−222−TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com.