Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

A 12-year-old Toronto boy struck by gunfire while walking home from a Saturday shopping trip with his mother has died, the innocent victim of an apparent gang skirmish against a backdrop of elevated gun violence in the city.

Toronto police confirmed the boy’s death on Thursday morning and announced upgraded charges against the two men arrested for an eruption of gunfire that sent weekend shoppers in the city’s northwest Jane and Finch neighbourhood scrambling for safety.

Originally charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault, both Rashawn Chambers, 24, and Jahwayne Smart, 24, now face additional charges of first-degree murder along with an array firearms offences.

Story continues below advertisement

“This investigation has shown us that the two accused had planned to carry out murder,” Detective Sergeant Keri Fernandes said. “They had a plan to murder someone that day.”

Both men had court-ordered firearms prohibitions. Police said that Mr. Smart had also violated his parole.

“To me it’s outrageous that these people weren’t already in custody and behind bars,” said Superintendent Ron Taverner, unit commander of neighbourhood police detachment, 31 Division.

Police allege the two men drove to an apartment building located on Stong Court around 2:20 p.m. and sprayed at least 30 rounds at a group of people inside a vehicle. The apartment complex sits a few hundred metres from Yorkgate Mall, the commercial heart of the Jane-Finch neighbourhood. A round struck the boy, who had been walking on the opposite side of the street, police said.

Emergency responders performed CPR on the boy before he was rushed to the Hospital for Sick Children. He was pronounced dead at 2:08 p.m. on Wednesday.

The family has not authorized police to release his name. Community members identified him only as Dante.

Three other people hit by rounds have been released from hospital.

Story continues below advertisement

On Monday, police located and arrested Mr. Chambers and Mr. Smart outside a downtown Canadian Tire, seizing three firearms in the process.

Investigators are still searching for a third suspect who they allege acted as the driver.

Toronto recorded a record number of shootings last year and is on an equal pace this year with 425 total incidents so far in 2020. The area policed by 31 Division has had a disproportionate number of those shootings with 82, almost double the number of the next nearest detachment.

“We are certainly aware of the gun violence in this community,” Supt. Taverner said. “The gun violence in this community is higher than anywhere else in the city and it’s very disturbing when we have good, good people who live in these areas and are being terrorized by the gun violence that’s taking place.”

At the scene of the shooting on Thursday, little evidence remained of the tragedy aside from shaken community members, who said they feel abandoned by politicians.

“They show up with the cameras when something like this happens and then you never hear from them again,” said a crossing guard, who said she knew the boy. The Globe and Mail is not identifying her because she feared reprisals for speaking out. “Something needs to happen. I’ve been working this job 13 years and I can’t remember ever being so nervous for my safety standing out here in the open.”

Story continues below advertisement

Mayor John Tory, who endured withering criticism from residents during a tour of the neighbourhood on Sunday, expressed his condolences to the family. “No family deserves such heartbreak,” he said in a statement. “We must do more and better for this family and for the many families affected by gun violence.”

One anti-violence organizer said he’s been disturbed by a lack of outrage around the boy’s death considering the upheavals that came after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. “Our city got up and marched and protested and stood up for this unfortunate soul whose life was taken by a police officer,” said Marcell Wilson, a former gang-member who now runs One by One Movement, a crime prevention group. “Where are the marches now? Where’s the outcry, the support for shooting victims and young people in our city? It really bothers me that violence like this is becoming normalized.”

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons or for abuse. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies