Police are awaiting forensic tests that will determine whether the bullet that killed 15-year-old Jane Creba in a Boxing Day shootout on Yonge Street was fired from the same gun seized from two men arrested at a subway station shortly after the shooting.
A police source said the two men, who were detained at Castle Frank station, had a 9mm Ruger handgun. Although police believe the two men took part in the gun battle, they have been charged only with lesser firearms offences, the source said.
If the tests reveal the markings on the fatal bullet or those that struck the six other victims are a match for the seized handgun, then the men could face more serious charges.
Andre Thompson, 20, who was on probation at the time of the alleged offences, faces several gun charges, as does a 17-year-old male who cannot be identified.
The source said the men are both known to police.
Jane's parents, Bruce Creba and Virginia Barton, declined to speak to the media yesterday, but released a statement through the police.
"Our bright light tragically scattered into darkness on Boxing Day, 2005," the statement said.
"Her life has been transformed into a shooting star that will be forever a light for her devoted parents, uncles, aunts, cousins and close friends. A star student and athlete in Grade 10 at Riverdale Collegiate Institute, she will be remembered by her teachers and friends as a loving and caring soul with a cheerful open heart."
As evening fell on the Creba family home on Langford Avenue, the media began to disperse and the lights came on.
A young woman entered the home of the slain girl while a teen and her mother stopped by. A tall shrub wrapped in white Christmas lights and a box of chopped firewood on the porch hinted at the warmth inside.
A middle-aged woman answered the door only to say, "We're not interested in talking."
Close friends were also asked not to speak to the media, and a photo of Jane that was posted on a friend's Internet blog was taken down yesterday, as was a photo on the school's website that showed Jane as part of a sports team.
One Internet diarist remembered Jane as having "a strong and soothing voice."
"She always read aloud in English class and she asked lots of questions in math class. She was good at sports and won many awards . . . She was a good person. She didn't deserve to die! I will never see her again and her seat will remain empty for the rest of the year."
Some classmates assembled yesterday at a curbside memorial of flowers and candles near the spot where Jane died, a few metres from a Foot Locker store in the heart of the Yonge-Dundas shopping district.
She was out bargain-hunting with her mother and sister on Monday when gunfire erupted at about 5:15 p.m. on a crowded sidewalk.
Police believe as many as 10 to 15 youths were involved and that more than one gun was fired.
In total, seven people were shot, including a man who was in critical condition, a student from Hong Kong who was treated in hospital and released, and an off-duty police officer who sustained minor injuries.
Mike Davis, a recently retired 16-year veteran of the Toronto police homicide squad, said investigators must await the results of ballistics testing to determine their next move.
"That could take quite some time. I know when I was in homicide, we were waiting sometimes months for results," Mr. Davis said. But if the case is treated as a priority at the province's Centre for Forensic Sciences, he said, results could be ready within days or weeks.
The difficulty is that in a year with 78 homicides and 52 shootings, many other cases are also considered priorities.
Mr. Thompson, who remains in custody until his next court appearance, was released just before Christmas from Maplehurst prison near Milton, Ont.
He had served 30 days for his role in a convenience-store robbery.
For most of the past two years he had been staying with his cousin, Marsha Grant, 27, who has two young children and lives in a public housing complex in the Jane-Finch neighbourhood.
Mr. Thompson, the father of a one-year-old boy, had been working at a nearby restaurant as a chef.
Ms. Grant said she was shocked to learn that he was caught up in the events on Yonge Street on Boxing Day, but she strongly doubts that he was the shooter.
"Andre would not be so stupid as to fire a gun into a crowd like that," she said.
She last saw him on Christmas Eve, when she told him he was no longer welcome to stay with her because of the constant police interest in his movements.
She said she felt nothing but sympathy for the parents of the victim.
"I can't imagine what her parents are going through."