Gun violence stuns Black community

Shooting victim Joel Alexander, 28. By Gerald V, Paul
Shooting victim Joel Alexander, 28.
By Gerald V, Paul

Toronto is stunned by the recent outburst of gun violence, some of which is rocking the city’s Black community.
Mayor John Tory in a media briefing yesterday praised the work of police in trying to keep the city safe and stressed that in his opinion, Toronto remains a safe city, despite the latest violent crime wave.
The police are asking the community for help in solving at least one of the crimes, the death of Joel Alexander who was 28 and leaves behind a five-year-old son.
“Thanks for all the members of the community, for your kind thoughts and prayers at this time of great sorrow as we contemplate how life can be fleeting,” Kolin Alexander, Joel’s dad, told The Camera.
Many members of the community have fond memories of Joel at Sunfest when he was in his early teens and was by his dad’s side with a knack for Caribbean music.
A humble young man who would address members of the community as “Uncle” and “Aunty” out of respect, “My son had some challenges,” Alexander acknowledged.
Joel was searching for direction in his life and was disappointed with the way some members of the community who conducted business with him as he sought to make an impact on the music scene.
His dad tried to step in and assist him but Joel lost the trust of the people who were in a position to show him the right way. “I guess people want to find their own way,” Alexander said.
The bloody violence began Friday afternoon when police arrived and found the victim in a parked vehicle with a gunshot wound. He was taken to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
They noted that witnesses at the scene report seeing a vehicle fleeing from the area.
The suspect vehicle is a silver, compact, four-door with tinted windows. It was last seen southbound on Peter Street, turning west on King Street West.
Detective Sergeant Terry Browne says anyone with information should call 416-808-7400 or email or make anonymous tips to Toronto Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-8477.
Later the same day, police found another man who died of his wounds after he was gunned down at a plaza in North York.
Then on Saturday evening shots rang out again, this time outside a residential building in northwest Toronto where a baby shower was being held.
Three men were wounded, one seriously and a pregnant woman was also injured when she fell during the panic that ensued. Residents said more that a dozen shots were fired and that some landed dangerously close to where children were playing.
In each incident, police said suspects were spotted fleeing the scene but all the shooters were still at large.
Investigators said they are trying to determine if any of the shootings were linked and are hoping to talk to possible witnesses in each of the cases.