Toronto police have released surveillance video of a gunfight that claimed the life of an up-and-coming rapper known as Houdini.
An image of one suspect was clearly captured in what Det.-Sgt. Andy Singh called “gut-wrenching” footage.
The shooting happened in the city’s entertainment district on Tuesday afternoon, Singh said, when suspects in a rental vehicle were lying in wait for 21-year-old Dimarjio Jenkins, who had an Airbnb nearby.
According to police, at least 23 shots were fired in the gunfight after the suspects got out and opened fire on Jenkins.
Singh says a suspect got out of the vehicle and exchanged gunfire with two of Jenkins’s “associates,” including a 15-year-old boy.
Singh says Jenkins was shot and killed, while the teenager was wounded and is facing firearms charges. He was known to police previously.
The suspects’ vehicle, the blue Volkswagen Tiguan, had been rented for most of a month, police said. It was found burnt out late Wednesday north of the city and was undergoing forensic analysis.
Police also recovered two firearms from Jenkins’s associates as well as a high-capacity, 30-round magazine.
Recovered shell casings came from a .40 calibre and nine-millimetre weapon.
Bullets narrowly missed others, police say
The brazen daylight ambush and shootout could have caused numerous casualties among bystanders, police said on Thursday.
“He quite clearly has no regard for human life,” Singh said of a wanted suspect.
“This was an active gunfight happening on one of the busiest street corners of our city. This is unacceptable.”
Witnesses reported panic as people fled the area.
“It’s a targeted shooting,” Singh said. “I believe Mr. Jenkins was the target.”
A 27-year-old woman bystander hit by a stray bullet was expected to recover fully.
Bullets narrowly missed others, including a mother and her six-year-old son, police said.
The woman was loading her car while the boy waited for her. At one point, the child, who had been in the line of fire, ducked into a nearby vestibule to shield himself.
“They were just unfortunately very close to a completely lethal situation,” Singh said.
“There were numerous people in the neighbourhood. A lot of people’s lives could have been put in jeopardy.”
‘Houdini had unlimited potential as an artist’
Jenkins grew up in Brampton, Ont., and was said to be one of the most-streamed independent Canadian rappers.
Warner Music Canada, which worked with him on a compilation album showcasing Toronto’s “rising stars,” had said in a statement he was “exceptionally talented.”
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“Houdini had unlimited potential as an artist and we are incredibly saddened that his life was cut short,” said Steve Kane, president of Warner Music Canada.
Police said it was too early to speculate about motive or any gang involvement in his death.
In releasing the surveillance video, police pleaded for help, asking anyone with any piece of relevant information to come forward.
“These people should not be on the street,” Chief Mark Saunders said.