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Mother of Rexdale homicide victim issues plea for information

Last Updated Oct 10, 2018 at 1:50 pm EDT

In a screen grab from a news conference at Toronto Police headquarters, Novelette Phoenix (centre) is seen issuing an appeal for information about the death of her son, Andre Phoenix. HANDOUT/ Toronto Police Service

The mother of a man who was killed in a drive-by shooting in Rexdale in August issued an emotional plea for information about her son’s death on Wednesday.

In a news conference at Toronto police headquarters, Novelette Phoenix said her 33-year-old son Andre called her after he’d been shot, but by the time she arrived at the hospital, he had died.

She tearfully appealed for witnesses to come forward.

“It’s been almost two months and we have no answers. We are grieving every minute, every second, every day and we need closure,” she said.

“I’m pleading and I’m begging and I’m asking the public, please, if there’s anyone out there that saw something, that knows something, please call the police or crime stoppers. I need justice for my son.”

She added that Andre left behind a two-year-old daughter.

Andre Phoenix, 33, was shot and killed in a plaza in Toronto's Rexdale neighbourhood on Aug. 15, 2018. HANDOUT/Toronto Police Service
Andre Phoenix, 33, was shot and killed in a plaza in Toronto’s Rexdale neighbourhood on Aug. 15, 2018. HANDOUT/Toronto Police Service

Police also released security video of a suspect vehicle believed to be connected with the shooting during the news conference. The car is described as a light-coloured sedan. It was last seen headed west on John Garland.

Andre Phoenix was walking with his girlfriend in the parking lot of a plaza near Martin Grove Road and John Garland Boulevard, south of Finch Avenue West on Aug. 15, when a car came toward him.

Police said Phoenix had a brief interaction with the vehicle’s occupants and soon after, one of them fired a gun at him several times. He was struck by the gunfire and collapsed on the ground.

Police responded to the incident and officers performed CPR on him until paramedics arrived. He was taken to hospital in critical condition and later pronounced dead.

Police said they don’t know if Phoenix knew the people in the car. He did not live in the area but was there for a visit.

An undercover police detective who cannot be identified told CityNews the man was “ambushed,” but he does not believe this is a case of “mistaken identity.”

“I believe this is neighbourhoods targeting neighbourhoods, because there has been ongoing gun violence. Areas are being targeted because of fall outs between different groups of people that live in different types of neighbourhoods,” he said. “He was in the wrong neighbourhood at the wrong time…It wasn’t who he was but where he was and where he was from.”

The detective added that in the area of Rexdale where the shooting occurred, there have been “ongoing disputes between groups from Mount Olive, Tanridge, Willowridge, Dixon and Jamestown.”

“We are seeing time and time again, incidents of innocent people being shot and the only links are the demographics of where that shooting occurred, not who the person is being shot,” he said. “There’s no sense to it.”

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