Speaking to reporters at city hall, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford insisted that the city is safe. Ford explained that the solution to the recent wave of gun violence is not through community programs but by job creation.
Digital Journal reported Tuesday about the Scarborough shooting that took place Monday evening. It left two people dead and at least 19 others injured. Shyanne Charles, 14, and Joshua Yasay, 23, were the identified victims. A toddler was wounded, but is expected to fully recover.
It was also reported that Toronto Police have one person of interest, who is in the hospital. Police Chief Bill Blair said the shooting indicates it was gang related, but did not verify if whether or not there is a gang war transpiring in the city.
Mayor Rob Ford toured the scene of the crime Tuesday morning where he called the shooting a “disgusting act of senseless violence.” Ford said in a statement that he spoke with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty about gangs and gang violence and will soon call upon Prime Minister Stephen Harper to get involved.
Ford declared war on “these violent gangs.”
“Frankly, it doesn’t matter if they hurt people with guns or knives, bats or bricks. There is no room in Toronto for violent gangs,” said Ford in a written statement. “We must use every legal means to make life for these thugs miserable, to put them behind bars, or to run them out of town. We will not rest until being a gang member is a miserable, undesirable life.”
Speaking to reporters outside of city hall Tuesday afternoon following an event to kick off the 45th annual Caribbean Carnival, a festival that had a shooting take place last year, Ford repeated his calls that Toronto is a safe city and noted he can walk the streets at night safely.
“Absolutely it’s safe,” said Ford. “I can walk anywhere at night; I feel safe. The majority of people do, it’s a safe city. Numbers don’t lie. Look at the numbers last year, it’s one of the lowest numbers we’ve had over a number of years. How could you say it’s not?”
Many youth group and community programs are facing the axe this year and in the months to come during a time of budget cuts. Some argue that these initiatives help prevent people from entering gangs and becoming violent. The mayor argued, however, that “the best social program is a job.”
“You gotta create an atmosphere for people to come into the city and invest and create jobs,” added Ford, who was then asked if the Priority Neighbourhood program should end in 2014. “No, I think they should start investing in jobs. They should be creating jobs. That’s it. The bottom line is: you and anyone else can come out there and invest and open up a business and create jobs, that’s the best social program around is a job.”
With this year’s influx of shootings, including Monday’s tragedy, tourists may be wary of travelling to Toronto for the summer, especially for Caribbean Carnival, previously known as Caribana, which draws tens of thousands to the city. But Ford called the shooting an “isolated incident” that happens “throughout the whole world.”
Another shooting took place in the city's west end Tuesday night. Clayton Wright, 42, was found dead following a shooting in a parking lot near a soccer field.