Authorities have now released the name of the teenage boy who was killed in a shooting in the troubled Lawrence Heights neighbourhood.
Sixteen year old Tyrone Bracken was shot around 3:55 p.m. at 135 Neptune Dr. The building is one of three in a Community Housing complex just southeast of Allen Road and the 401.
A police report said officers located Bracken in the west stairwell of the building “suffering from an obvious gunshot wound.” After failed attempts to resuscitate him, Bracken was pronounced dead at the scene.
Within hours, friends had already started an in memoriam page on Facebook, with one member saying “People need to STOP THE VIOLENCE, RIP.”
That violence refers to the recent surge in gun-related incidents in the Lawrence Heights neighbourhood dating back to late August.
After one person was wounded in a shooting on Neptune Drive on Aug. 23, gun-related violence erupted in the immediate area, starting with a murder the next day.
Randy Anthony Malcolm was shot on Cather Cres, and died the following day in hospital. He had been a suspect in an attempted murder for a shooting in 2008, which occurred near the same complex where Bracken was murdered.
One week after Malcom’s murder a woman was injured by debris caused by gunfire while sitting in her backyard on Cather Cres. Gunfire had also been reported minutes before on Flemington Road.
Then on Sept. 24, a man walking on Flemington Road near Blossomfield Crescent was shot in mid-afternoon and survived.
Less than two weeks after that, a drive-by shooting resulted in two men being shot in the legs after playing soccer in a nearby field. That occurred around 10:30 p.m., and also on Cather Cres.
In mid-October, police were on patrol on Varna Road near Dorney Court late in the afternoon and arrested a teenager after he tried to run. Police discovered he had a loaded handgun on him.
Just over a month had passed with no major gun-related incidents to report, when Bracken was gunned down in another daylight shooting.
Investigators remained at the scene late into the evening trying to piece together the shooting, while Bracken’s body still lay in the stairwell by a side door exit from the building where he was killed. Police have not named any suspects, and could not be reached for comment.
During the investigation, residents who were arriving home to any of the buildings that are a part of the Toronto Community Housing block of 135, 145 and 155 Neptune Dr. had to be ushered inside by police, who had taped off a perimeter surrounding the entire block.
Many residents were overheard saying they think it’s time to find a new neighbourhood to move to, including David Spiegel, a lifelong resident of the community, who says he and his family hear gunshots about once a month on average.
“I’ve heard machine gun fire. It’s all coming from the community housing,” he said. “It’s not for me to say (what should be done about the violence), it’s for the government’s to come up with a solution, but the status quo is obviously not working. A poor 16 year old kid is now dead.”
Living directly across the street with his balcony facing the scene of the crime, Spiegel says he now wants to take his wife and two young daughters and move out of the city as soon as they can, because nothing is being done to stop the violence.
“My main issue is with councillor (Howard) Moscoe completely ignoring this,” he said, referencing numerous unanswered emails he sent to the outgoing councillor. “I’m frustrated more than anything. It’s terrible that there’s all this crime and it’s a waste of police resources having to continuously deal with this.”
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