Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Deadly Shooting at Toronto BBQ Was Gang Violence Sparked by Snub at Party: Cops

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Deadly Shooting at Toronto BBQ Was Gang Violence Sparked by Snub at Party: Cops

Article excerpt

Fatal shooting at BBQ was gang violence: cops


TORONTO - A snub at a summer barbecue sparked a "violent confrontation" between two rival gangs and what's been called the worst mass shooting in Toronto's history, police said Thursday in announcing murder charges.

The clash at the July 16 block party on Danzig Street left Shyanne Charles, 14, and Joshua Yasay, 23 -- who police have said were innocent partygoers -- dead and more than 20 others wounded.

Members of the Galloway Boys, a local street gang, were at the barbecue and "took ownership" of it, said Staff Insp. Greg McLane.

A member of another gang, the Malvern Crew, showed up at the party but was turned away, McLane said.

"It's alleged that the Malvern Crew member left the barbecue, called a number of his associate gang members and attended back at the barbecue to confront the members of the Galloway Boys to seek revenge for being turned away," he said at a news conference.

"This resulted in a violent confrontation between a number of gang members from the Galloway Boys and from the Malvern Crew that involved a number of firearms."

Police announced Thursday that Shaquan "Bam Bam" Mesquito, 18, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder, reckless discharge of a firearm and 23 counts of aggravated assault.

The first murder charges in the shooting are a milestone in the investigation, said Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, but he called more arrests "inevitable."

"There are others who also bear a responsibility for what took place in the Danzig community on July 16 and we're going to hold them to account," he said.

Mesquito faces two counts of first-degree murder, but it doesn't mean police necessarily allege he fired the shots that killed Charles and Yasay.

"I'm not saying that he's solely responsible for all the carnage that happened that day," McLane said.

Police likened the scenario to a shootout on Boxing Day 2005 in Toronto that killed 15-year-old Jane Creba.

Gunfire erupted as two rival groups of young men confronted each other on Yonge Street. Police were unable to determine whose gun actually fired the shot that killed Creba, but several people were convicted of murder and manslaughter charges. …

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