A 27-year-old man has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in connection with three Toronto killings, police said on Tuesday.
Cjay Hobbs, of Toronto, was arrested on Thursday, Nov. 12 as he got off a plane at the Halifax airport and was returned to Toronto on Tuesday, according to Hank Idsinga, commander of the Toronto police homicide unit. The man was charged on Tuesday.
Idsinga said police believe the man drove the shooters to and from the scenes involving the fatal shootings of Dante Andreatta Marroquin, 12, on Nov. 7, Hamdi Zakarie, 27, on Oct. 1 and Dimarjio Jenkins, 21, on May 26. Marroquin died in hospital on Nov. 11.
"It is alleged that he was the driver of the vehicles which transported the shooters to and from the three scenes," Idsinga told reporters."He's a party to the offence. We're alleging that he's aware that the murder is going to happen and he helps to facilitate that murder."
The accused is expected to appear in court on Wednesday at 1000 Finch Avenue West.
Idsinga, who spoke at a news conference at 31 Division, said police believe all three shootings were gang-related.
"Members of the community were obviously shocked and outraged at not only the murder of Dante, but the murders of Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Zakarie," Idsinga said. "Their assistance and support have been invaluable to these investigations."
Marroquin was grocery shopping with his mother in the Jane and Finch area when he was fatally shot shortly after 2 p.m. on Nov. 7. He was rushed to hospital, where he died four days later. He was Toronto's 62nd homicide victim of the year.
Two men, 24 and 25, have been arrested and charged with first degree murder in his death. Police allege they are the shooters.
Zakarie was placing his five-month-old baby in his vehicle when he was fatally shot in front of his residence near Jane Street and Lawrence Avenue West shortly after 9 a.m. on Oct. 1. He was Toronto's 56th homicide victim of the year.
Jenkins, a rapper known as Houdini, was shot on Blue Jays Way shortly after 4 p.m. on May 26. He was Toronto's 30th homicide of the year.
Two of Jenkins's associates have been charged with several firearms offences in relation to the incident and both are youths, one is 16 and one is 17. An arrest warrant remains outstanding for the 17-year-old.
Toronto seeing 'a lot of gang activity' right now
Idsinga said investigators are still trying to determine the identities of the shooters in the Zakarie and Jenkins homicides.
"I think there is a lot of gang activity that is happening right now, a lot of firearm activity that is happening right now in the city as a whole," Idsinga said.
He said he thinks Toronto is getting frustrated and fed up with the gun crime in the city and he has noticed an increase in number of tips being received by police. He said he believes there is political support for the police in solving the crimes.
He said an officer from Division 31 performed CPR on Marroquin at the scene and officers at the division are taking advantage of counselling made available by the force.
"These are tough cases," he said.
Supt. Ron Taverner, unit commander of 31 Division, told reporters at the same news conference that the community in 31 Division was outraged at the gun violence and that a boy was gunned down in the street on a Saturday afternoon.
"I don't think we should forget about the family and the shocking, unbelievable grief that they are going through. The grief is being shared by all of us," Taverner said.
No photo of Hobbs has been released by police. Const. David Hopkinson, spokesperson for Toronto police, said a photo will not be released if the homicide unit decides there is no investigative reason to do so.
Police are asking anyone with information to call them at 416-808-7400, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).