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.
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