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Toronto Police cars on Driftwood Avenue in Toronto, on Feb. 18.Arlyn McAdorey/The Canadian Press

Toronto police say that two people were shot indiscriminately only a day apart around the same location, leaving a father of four dead and a teenager seriously injured.

The weekend shootings in North York, in the area of Jane Street and Driftwood Avenue, brought fresh attention to public safety concerns, which have been fanned in the past year after several unrelated instances of random violence.

On Tuesday, police identified the man who died as Adu Boakye, 39, of Ghana. He was shot three times, including twice in the stomach, Saturday afternoon while walking and died in hospital.

“Mr. Boakye was a father, an uncle, a nephew and a son,” said homicide Detective Phillip Campbell. “He came to Canada this past November to support his family. He leaves behind a wife and four children.”

Police said the other victim, a 16-year-old boy, is an avid athlete who was waiting early Friday evening for a transit bus to take him to a volleyball game when he was shot in the face. He remained in hospital on Tuesday with significant injuries.

Investigators believe the same suspect is connected to both shootings and that neither of the victims were known to him.

The investigators also said there is no evidence the two people shot were in any way affiliated with gangs.

“We believe these two victims were shot indiscriminately,” Det. Campbell told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

Police say a suspect was last seen wearing mostly black clothing, including a face covering. Investigators are also seeking information from anyone who has seen a black Acura RDX with the licence plate CVEN 900. They released a photo at the police website.

Police said the shots were not fired from a vehicle, but rather by someone who approached the victims.

“This was brazen, it was during the daylight hours, and that’s why we want to bring this person to justice fairly quickly,” Superintendent Andy Singh said.

Police on Feb. 20 said two people who were shot at the same intersection in a northwest Toronto neighbourhood in less than a day were innocent victims who were attacked 'indiscriminately.' Investigators say that while they can't rule out the possibility that the attacks were related to gang violence, there is no evidence that the two people shot – one of them fatally – were in any way affiliated with gangs.

The Canadian Press

In a statement, Mayor Olivia Chow said that “residents of this neighbourhood, many families with children, deserve to know they will be safe waiting at a bus stop or walking down the street.” She said that her office was in contact with police and that municipal “crisis response workers are available to check in with neighbours and provide counseling.”

The city councillor for the area, Anthony Perruzza, said in an interview that the shootings are the kind of “senseless violence that has us all spooked” but added that the community would not be cowed.

“This is one of those random things that is an anomaly, and then when it happens, you’re rattled by it because you’re looking around and you’re saying, ‘My God, like, it’s not safe to go out,’ ” he said. “But what we’ve discovered as a community is that things are safe as long as we’re out there reclaiming spaces and looking out for each other.”

In the past five years, Toronto has had between 70 and 85 homicides annually. Police records show homicides by gunshot have been trending down as a proportion the past few years, but shooting remains the top method.

Data collected by the police show that Toronto has had seven homicides so far this year, including Mr. Boakye’s death. There were six by this point in 2023 and 10 to 13 in each of the previous three years.

Toronto is one of the safer urban areas in the country when it comes to the homicide rate, according to Statistics Canada. However, several high-profile attacks, including on the transit system, prompted a debate about public safety and became an issue in a mayoral by-election last year.

A spokesperson for Ontario Solicitor-General Michael Kerzner said no one in Ontario should have to live in fear of being randomly attacked.

“This kind of brazen and despicable behaviour is totally unacceptable and we have confidence that the police will bring this criminal to justice,” spokesperson Hunter Kell said in an e-mail.

With reports from Laura Stone and The Canadian Press

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