Police are now saying that a shooting at Yorkdale Mall over the Easter weekend that left one man dead and another in hospital was likely gang related calling the shooting an “ambush”.
Michael Nguyen, 23, was pronounced dead at the scene on March 30, just past 8 p.m. after officers arrived and reportedly found him suffering from numerous gunshot wounds in the west parking lot near the Sears entrance. A second man, age 24, was also shot, but was taken to hospital and was recovering.
Police said during a late-night media scrum that they believe Nguyen was in one of two groups that were involved in altercation at the mall just before shots rang out. Officers were reviewing hours of security footage and interviewing witnesses in order to learn more about what transpired. No suspect descriptions have been released, but police did say they are looking for five or six suspects.
Much of the west parking lot remained part of the crime scene overnight, and many people who were at the mall were unable to retrieve their cars until the next day.
Nguyen’s murder was the 15th in the city this year.
During a media scrum, homicide detective Robert North said that Nguyen was known to police. It has been reported that Nguyen was one of three young offenders involved in a violent 2008 home invasion in Windsor where he and his accomplices used knives and guns. All were sentenced as adults and after serving their time were released on three-year probation and given a lifetime weapons possession ban.
Nguyen was described at the time as an exemplary inmate by his lawyer, who said he had made a remarkable turnaround while in custody. Even the judge was quoted as saying all three had made strides he would not have predicted, that they took advantage of upgrading education and getting therapy, and that their futures were in their own hands.
Following Nguyen’s murder, only one of those three convicted in the home invasion is still alive as Qoheleth Chong, was shot to death on a sidewalk on College Street just east of Bathurst last November.
The third person, Rowan Atkins, has been arrested numerous times since while in possession of firearms. One of those arrests came within six months of his release, when according to another media report, he was in possession of a loaded .357 Magnum and tried to evade police by boarding a TTC bus. As a result of that arrest, Atkins received a second lifetime ban on possession firearms.
Police believe there are many witnesses to Nguyen’s murder who left before officers arrived and have yet to come forward. They are being urged to contact police at 32 Division by phone at 416-808-3200.
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