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The Globe and Mail

One man shot, another stabbed as Toronto marks first homicides of 2012

The new year was only hours old when Toronto recorded its first two slayings of 2012, including 20-year-old Jamahl Franklin, who was gunned down near a park and school in Scarborough.

The sound of gunfire prompted several people to call police around 4:30 a.m. Sunday, said Staff Sergeant Barbara McLean. Mr. Franklin, found lying on a sidewalk along Hupfield Trail near Neilson Road and Finch Avenue East, was declared dead at the scene.

Officers with the homicide squad are leading the investigation. A tarp covered the victim's lifeless body as police combed the east-end Toronto neighbourhood for clues and interviewed residents and visitors.

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It wasn't immediately clear whether he lived in the neighbourhood or whether he was attending a New Year's Eve party.

Another man, 24-year-old Michael Pimentel, was stabbed and killed in Toronto's Liberty Village area in the early hours Sunday morning, said Staff Sergeant Peter Callaghan. Police say Mr. Pimentel had been at a party, but it appears he got into a fight at the corner of East Liberty and Hanna Streets.

No arrests have been made in either incident.

Although it was a grim start to the year, the slayings follow a significant drop in homicides in 2011 – 45 compared with 62 in the previous year. It was the city's lowest number of homicides since 1986. Edmonton, which has a population about three times smaller than Toronto's, had the same number of killings last year.

With a report from The Canadian Press

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