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North York shooting death blamed on 'street gang subculture'

Last Updated Jun 25, 2018 at 3:26 pm EST

A 31-year-old woman is dead following a shooting in North York early Sunday morning.

Police say Jenas Nyarko was a passenger in the back seat of a vehicle that was returning home from a funeral when the shooting occurred on Old Meadow Lane near Allen Road and Lawrence Avenue round 2 a.m.

Det. David Dickinson says video footage of the incident shows a silver or grey coloured 2010-2016 Cadillac SRX SUV circling a neighbourhood before coming up to a vehicle and at least one shot is fired into the vehicle, striking Nyarko and killing her.

“It would appear that this is a case of individuals coming from one neighbourhood of the city to another neighbourhood and shooting the first residents that they see,” he said.

Dickinson says there’s nothing in Nyarko’s past to suggest she could have been targeted by the shooter, nor is there anything to suggest the three other people in the car might have been targets.

Originally from Ghana, Nyarko moved to Canada in 2001 and worked at a shelter, Dickinson said.

Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders says the incident is indicative of a problematic “street gang subculture” in the city.

“This is a horrific crime because that could have been anybody and in this case that’s exactly what this narrative seems to say. So I’ve got a huge concern with that,” said Saunders. “These thugs that committed this particular act are in no means, in any type of culture, people that society would be very happy with.”

Nyarko’s death is one of four alleged homicides in Toronto over a 24-hour period, though police say there’s no indication at this time that they are connected.

Saunders says the amount of violence in the city is troubling, noting that there are on average five more shootings per month this year than last.

“That is not catastrophic but I still don’t like those numbers,” he said.

“The loss of any life is a concern for me. Anytime anybody shoots a gun inside the city is a concern for me. I know the public has some concerns right now.”