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The man was arrested after Rexdale’s birthday party shooting that girl, 5 years old, in critical condition




A 24-year-old man has been arrested on charges in connection with a gunshot wound Saturday night that left a five-year-old girl in critical condition, Toronto police said.

The man was one of the people injured in the shooting at one celebration for children’s birthday in the Rexdale neighborhood of Toronto in the northwest.

He has been identified as Demar Cadogan, 24, of Toronto. He has been charged with intentionally withdrawing a firearm along with three other charges related to possession of prohibited or regulated firearms without a license and registration certificate.

The shooting on Byng Avenue and Tandridge Crescent left three children with gunshot wounds by a five-year-old girl, a one-year-old boy and an 11-year-old boy along with Cadogan.

The five-year-old girl is still in critical condition while the one-year-old and 11-year-old boys have been released from the hospital, police said.

Police have not revealed who allegedly shot Cadogan, or whether any of the bullets he allegedly fired hit the children. Investigators have not released any information so far on any other suspects.

Police say the investigation is ongoing and that anyone with information should contact Division 23 at 416-808-2300 or Crime Prevention at 416-222-8477.

Armed violence was exacerbated by a lack of support: lawyers

Gun violence in the city has dropped in 2021 compared to 2020, according to Toronto Police Statistics. As of June 20, 2021, Toronto had seen 164 shootings, 16 deaths and 64 gunshot wounds, out of 203 shots, 22 deaths and 69 injuries at the same time last year.

At the same time, lawyers say the nature of the violence has worsened over time and that chronic underfunding for communities like Rexdale contributes to the problem.

Jamaal Fyffe, deputy principal at Elms High School down the road from the shooting area, said the community needs more support from the city.

“We are completely devastated. We are concerned about the resources that are in this community, not just when tragedy strikes, but on an ongoing basis,” Fyffe said. For example, he said, local parks are very poorly maintained.

Fyffe said he could not speak yet if any of the children at the birthday party attended school. He and other staff members from the Toronto District School Board visited the community to provide support to affected families.

Marcell Wilson, co-founder of the One by One Movement, works directly with one of the affected families. One by One Movement consists of former gang members and ex-extremists working to prevent young people from taking the same path.

Wilson said they are doing what they can to bring community members to support families and eventually evict them from the area. The community has been underfunded and battling gang violence for years, he said, adding that it needs a better approach to support such as recreation centers.

“When we came here in 2019, we lobbied in every sector of government, we lobbied in the Toronto Community Housing, that this particular area needs special attention,” he said. “Unfortunately we have to see things like this happen to get the attention that is so much needed for this area.”

The nature of the violence has deteriorated: the former gang leader

Wilson added that the extreme and brazen nature of gun violence at a children’s birthday party is different from the past.

“As a former gang leader, in my time, this kind of violence would never happen,” he said.

“There was an old-school way of doing things,” he added. “No woman, no children. If you have a problem with someone, you came and dealt with that person specifically. In my time, if you were armed and the other person was not, you would cross your arm. [to someone else] and you would fight it. “What we are seeing now is kind of inexplicable.”

Marcell Wilson, co-founder of the One by One Movement, says gun violence has become more brazen. (CBC)

He said the One by One Movement works to identify risk factors for extreme acts of violence. Some factors that may explain the changing nature of violence are the role of social media in escalating confrontations that Wilson calls “power pursuits” and the rise of narcotics he did not have access to when he was young, he said.

Stillsht is still unknown if the shooting had anything to do with the gangs, but Wilson said he believes it is unlikely, based in the area.

The families he spoke to desperately want to dedicate themselves to the needs of the community, he said.

“They are terrified, they are traumatized, they want help, they want resources. They want things to change here and they have wanted it for a while,” he said.

“This is a problem we, not a problem of the marginalized community, this is not a Black problem. This is a Torontonian problem. Help us and help these people.”

Fatal murder, on Monday

The weekend saw another shot in the early hours of Monday when a man in his 20s was killed on the northwest edge of Toronto.

Police said they were called to the Clearview Heights and Trethewey Drive area to find the man suffering from gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The victim was discovered just steps away from the place where 32-year-old Brendon Kirk Daley was shot last week. Daley died June 13 in the same area while attending a party.

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