This is part of my ongoing series on Canadian Mass Murders.
On July 16, 2012, not a single thug was killed when two rival street gangs opened fire on each other at a Danzig Street bloc party.
Instead, four members of these violent street gangs shot and killed 14-year-old Shyanne Charles, 23-year-old Joshua Yasay and injured 22 others during their grudge-fueled shooting spree.
The event Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair called “the worst incident of gun violence in my memory” came four years after the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence (PDF) Report warned Liberal Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty about the increase in youth gang-related violence – a report whose recommendations Premier McGuinty never adopted.
Two key priorities — an expanded mental health system for youth and a permanent secretariat to oversee an anti-violence strategy — have never seen the light of day, said Alvin Curling, who co-authored of the “Roots of Youth Violence” report with former Ontario Chief Justice Roy McMurtry.
“Ontario is incubating an increase in youth violence, and in more serious violence. These trends are deeply troubling. They include the increasing concentration of violent crime among younger people, the increasing frequency with which guns and knives are being used in disputes that might previously have been settled with fists…” the report says.
And that’s precisely what happened on the evening of July 16, 2012, during a community block party on Scarborough’s Danzig Street.
Guns, not fists, were used to settle a grudge between two rival youth street gangs.
Folorunso Owusu, 17, Nahom Tsegazab, 19, Shaquan “Bam Bam” Mesquito, 18, and Nahom “Gifted” Tsegazab, 19, opened fire in a crowd of over two hundred people that night.
Shyanne Charles and Joshua Yasay paid for the gang grudge with their lives.
Police and Government Response
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair was Toronto’s chief of police on July 16, 2012. From that day until today, he’s done little to address the issues of gang violence and the flow of illegal guns into our country and into the hands of gang members who are barely out of childhood.
But the Liberal government’s “tough on crime” mantra is proven, they say, by banning and confiscating legally-owned rifles from hunters and target shooters as they did by Order in Council on May 1, 2020.
Yes, this will definitely stop young gang criminals from shooting innocent people with handguns smuggled across the border.
That Kool-Aid must be really powerful, since so many are willing to drink it and believe every word out of Bill Blair’s mouth. They forget Minister Blair is a career politician who will say anything to garner votes while doing nothing to stop the violence in our streets.
I pray voters remember this simple fact when they cast their ballots in the next federal election, whenever that may be.
“We have to send a message. Three years for possession of [an illegal] handgun? That’s nonsense. You should do some serious hard time, and not come back here. Once you come out, out of jail, get out of the city. Go somewhere else,” Mayor Rob Ford said at the time.
This is a far cry from current Toronto Mayor John Tory, who demanded licensed gun owners, not violent gang members, leave the city.
Day Parole Granted to Killer
In one final middle finger gesture to the public safety of Canadians, the Parole Board granted day parole to Nahom Tsegazab in direct opposition to the recommendation of the Correctional Service of Canada, who cited “public safety concerns and gang associations as well as the severity and violence of your index offences”.
The fact Tsegazab was caught with two kitchen knives in his jail cell are why the Parole Board didn’t grant him full parole, they said. Two cell phones were also seized from him on another occasion.
These violations would seem to bolster the position of Corrections officials who wanted him to remain in custody.
“You were able to understand the mistakes you made as a young man and took accountability. You demonstrated remorse for your actions,” the Parole Board wrote in their decision.
The Parole Board knows best, right?
P.S. Earlier this year, Nahom’s younger brother Naod “Gritty” Tsegazab, pleaded guilty to shooting and killing rival gang member Dean Howlett. When Howlett’s dead body was discovered he still clutched an illegal handgun in his hand.