Toronto police have arrested two suspects in the beating death of a young American visitor from Maryland who was killed in an unprovoked attack outside a bar.
Investigators are still looking for a third man and will not release pictures of the pair they have taken into custody because police don’t want to compromise upcoming photo lineups with witnesses.
The victim, Julian Jones, was a 26-year-old Maryland man who was about to graduate from university and get married next spring. He was in Toronto to celebrate a friend’s bachelor party when he was killed Saturday.
The two arrested suspects, Kenneth Omorogbe, 25, and Kamari Folkes, 24, are both from Toronto. They were apprehended Wednesday and were each charged with second-degree murder. They appeared Thursday morning at the Old City Hall courthouse.
The suspect who is still at large is alleged to have also taken part in the kicking and stomping of Mr. Jones. He is described as a white man in his late 20s.
Investigators have pictures of him, which have been distributed among the police service. Other members of the group that attacked Mr. Jones and his friends are also being sought for questioning by police.
“If they’re not willing to come to me on their own, I’ll come to them,” homicide squad Detective Sergeant Gary Giroux told reporters Thursday.
Mr. Omorogbe and Mr. Folkes were taken into custody after other police officers recognized them from images recorded at the scene. The pair “have some past criminal baggage,” Det. Sgt. Giroux said.
Court records show that Mr. Omorogbe has nine criminal files at three different Toronto courthouses while Mr. Folkes has three criminal cases against him.
The key evidence came from cellphone videos taken by friends of Mr. Jones, he said.
“It’s going to be an identification-based prosecution, it’s not going to be a forensic case … it’s going to come down to showing photo lineups and videos.”
Police asked media not to publish pictures of the suspects and have told witnesses not to search for photos of Mr. Omorogbe and Mr. Folkes on social media.
Investigators still need to show security staff at the bar some videos of the incident.
Det. Sgt. Giroux said investigators also need to conduct a photo lineup identification with Mr. Jones’s friends, who have since returned home to the United States.
This will be done either by sending Toronto officers to the U.S. or asking Baltimore police to conduct the procedure, where witnesses are asked to pick out the suspects from an array of photographs.
Mr. Jones worked for Amazon and was also enrolled at the University of Baltimore, majoring in environmental sustainability. He was expected to graduate in the spring of 2017.
He was a soft-spoken, upbeat man with “a very relaxed personality,” said one classmate, Nels Schumacher. “He was such a nice guy.”
Mr. Schumacher said Mr. Jones’s death in Canada struck hard. “It’s just unfathomable that Julian could be killed in Toronto when we think of Canada as much safer than the U.S., especially his home area of Baltimore.”
Police say Mr. Jones was with his friends around 2:30 a.m. on Nov. 5 as they left the Blnd Tger bar, in Toronto’s Little Italy neighbourhood.
They became caught in an altercation unfolding outside, near the corner of College Street and Manning Avenue.
Mr. Jones’s group was not the aggressors, police said. He became separated from the rest of his group and somehow pulled into the brawl.
Det. Sgt. Giroux said witnesses saw Mr. Jones lying on the ground, helpless and semi-conscious, when he was stomped and kicked.
He was pronounced dead after he was taken by ambulance to St. Michael’s Hospital.
“He wanted to help everyone, save the environment and spread peace. He possessed a heart of gold, a heart that could calm any angry person and lift up anyone who was ever sad,” his brother, Justin, said on a GoFundMe page set up to raise funds for the funeral.Report Typo/Error