Those who live and work in the community feel the effects of the violence that has plagued the area. Many businesses and residents won’t talk out of fear they’ll be targeted for speaking to media or police about the crimes in the neighbourhood. But a few would speak. Here’s what they have to say.
Hassan Sadeghi-Rahimabadi, owner of Mr. Sub
His store has suffered numerous after-hours break-ins and has been robbed twice. Two years ago he was confronted by two baseball bat-wielding men who smashed his register and straw dispenser. He said he asked them if they wanted money, then he gave them some and they left.
“I’m scared. Of course I’m scared,” he said. “In a minute, I could be dead.”
Sadeghi-Rahimabadi is not optimistic there will be change in the neighbourhood. He believes putting pressure on those responsible only makes them relocate, where they continue committing crimes.
“It’s like having a cold. You can take Tylenol to get rid of the pain, but it comes back,” he said. “You need to attack the symptom.”
Lily, owner of Dundas Food Mart for the past year
Though she has not seen a decline in business as a result of the violence, she sees the potential for it to plummet at any time.
“It’s a community business,” she said. “When (the shootings) happen, people say they’re going to move. If people move, I lose business.”
Shoira Scott, resident for almost a year
The young mother who has a husband and three kids, thought it was a nice area when she moved in. Since then, there have been two murders.
Previously living in Sarnia before coming to Toronto, Scott has moved her family a few times because of violence in the neighbourhoods she’s lived in. Now, she wants to move as soon as possible — and not even to somewhere else in the city.
“Somewhere outside of the GTA,” she said. “I told my husband as soon as he finishes school: don’t even look for a job in Toronto.”Joseph, resident and witness
Joseph was outside at the time Delano Coombs was murdered. He heard the gunshots and saw the suspects running east through the complex. He went over to the scene of the shooting when fire crews arrived. He said Coombs’ eyes were half-open and he had numerous gunshot wounds in his chest, abdomen, shoulder and face.
He has spoken to police.
Though he wouldn’t give his full name, he says he’s not scared of the killers coming after him for talking to police and media.
“I believe in the Lord Jesus, and I believe everyone has a time to go,” he said. “This just doesn’t feel like my time.”
For more on the murders behind the community’s fear click here.
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