A Toronto man charged with second-degree murder in the daytime shooting death of a woman last week was on bail at the time, and has previously been convicted of assault and failure to comply with release orders.
Damian Hudson, 32, appeared briefly in court Thursday morning by video. He was issued an order not to communicate with a lengthy list of people and will remain in custody ahead of his next court date, which is scheduled for July 25.
Court records obtained by The Globe and Mail show Mr. Hudson had a lengthy history of convictions and charges.
Mr. Hudson was found guilty of aggravated assault and weapons dangerous in 2019, and sentenced to 15 months in jail and two years probation by the Ontario Court of Justice. In his decision, Justice Lawrence Feldman wrote it was “troubling” that Mr. Hudson violated probation orders and a lifetime weapons ban, and that his prior response to community supervision had been poor.
At the time of last week’s shooting, Mr. Hudson was on bail in relation to charges of assault causing bodily harm from October, 2021. He was released last August with conditions and payment of a $2,500 surety, according to the court documents – which also show Mr. Hudson failed to appear in court multiple times dating back to last October and that bench warrants were issued for his arrest.
This marks the latest high-profile act of violence that resulted in charges against someone who was out on a court-ordered release, such as bail or probation, at a time when politicians and police organizations are ramping up calls for changes to Canada’s bail system to make it more difficult for repeat violent offenders to be released.
Canada’s premiers met in Winnipeg this week and urged Ottawa to pass legislation introduced earlier this year that would place a “reverse onus” on serious repeat offenders and those facing firearms or other weapons charges, meaning they would have to prove why they should be released. But the bill has yet to pass, and Parliament is on break until September.
The Liberal government has blamed delays in passing the federal legislation on the Conservatives. The Tories have, in turn, accused the Liberals of failing to act quickly enough and complained that the bill doesn’t go far enough in ensuring violent reoffenders aren’t released.
Police said the shooting last Friday began as an altercation between three men just before 12:30 p.m. at Queen Street East and Carlaw Avenue. Two of the men had handguns and shot at each other. A bullet hit Karolina Huebner-Makurat, who was walking in the area, and the men fled the scene.
Ms. Huebner-Makurat, 44, was transported to a hospital where she died from her injuries later that day. She had two young daughters, aged 4 and 7.
Police are continuing to search for two other male suspects.
Ms. Huebner-Makurat’s husband, Adrian Makurat, released a statement on Thursday, thanking bystanders and first responders who came to the aid of his wife after the shooting, and pointing to the kindness and outreach from the broader public. A public vigil is scheduled for Monday, and a GoFundMe fundraising campaign for the family has raised more than $252,000.
“Your acts of kindness and the outpouring of support have been a source of strength and solace for my family,” Mr. Makurat said in the statement. “Caroline was a beacon of light, and the compassion shown by each of you reflects the love and empathy she would have extended to others in a similar situation.”
This is the Toronto’s 32nd homicide this year, adding to a series of random and violent attacks in Canada’s largest city.
Early Monday morning, two people were transported to hospital with serious injuries after a drive-by shooting. Police said the incident was being investigated as a case of road rage related to stunt driving on Yonge Street. No suspects have been arrested.
Last week, a man was stabbed on a moving subway train during the midday rush. Moses Lewin, 25, was charged with attempted murder. Mr. Lewin was on bail and scheduled to be in court the day of the attack related to June, 2022 charges of breaking and entering, motor vehicle theft, flight from a peace officer and dangerous operation of a vehicle.
Responding to last week’s shooting death, Ontario Premier Doug Ford voiced concern that Mr. Hudson was on bail and again called on Ottawa to take action.
“How many innocent people have to lose their lives before the justice system gets serious about keeping dangerous repeat offenders behind bars?” This has to stop,” Mr. Ford said in a statement Thursday.
He pointed to work the province announced in April to address the problems, including spending $112-million to strengthen the province’s bail enforcement and prosecutorial system, along with more than $200-million to combat gun and gang violence.