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The Globe and Mail

Toronto Mayor to meet with McGuinty to ask for more money for policing

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he will be meeting with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty next week to seek more money for anti-gang police initiatives in the wake of a shooting that killed two and left 21 wounded.

He also told news channel CP24 that he called Prime Minister Stephen Harper about the tragedy. "I want meetings," Mr. Ford said.

The Premier's Office confirmed the mayor and the premier are scheduled to meet Monday at 2 p.m.

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Mr. Ford continued to assert Wednesday that Toronto is a safe city – noting that he was coaching football last night in Rexdale, a troubled area, and the youth were respectful. "I've been into the toughest parts of the city, and I consider it a safe city," he said.

But he acknowledged that Toronto has crime problems that need to be addressed.

Mr. Ford said he would ask Mr. McGuinty for more police funding. The money would be earmarked for Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy, the police anti-gang initiative. And he plans to push the federal government for stricter laws to help reduce gun violence.

"It's affecting our city more than anyone else in Canada," he said.

Police confirmed Wednesday that the city's latest homicide victim, who was killed after a soccer game in the city's west-end Tuesday night, had no known gang affiliations or criminal record.

Police responding to numerous 911 calls Tuesday evening found Clayton Wright, 42, in a parking lot on Emmett Ave., suffering from a single gunshot wound.

Mr. Wright died at the scene.

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Speaking at a news conference, Detective-Sergeant Wayne Banks repeatedly denied that there is any evidence that the homicide was gang-related, while cautioning that the investigation remains in its infancy.

"There is absolutely nothing that we have come up with in this investigation to show that there's any type of gang activity at all," Sgt. Banks said. "Our deceased has absolutely no contact with the police."

Mr. Wright was participating in a weekly pick-up soccer game and left the field shortly before the shooting. Other players found Mr. Wright in a nearby parking lot.

Sgt. Banks said numerous participants remained on scene after the shooting and spoke with police.

"The co-operation that we have received from the public so far has been tremendous," Sgt. Banks said.

Sgt. Banks said Mr. Wright was a Mississauga resident with family in Toronto.

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