Peel police say kidnapped Brampton woman fled captor in taxi: ‘He is a big threat’

·3 min read

A 23-year-old Brampton woman who was allegedly kidnapped by her estranged boyfriend early Sunday escaped by taxi before walking into a Peel police station Monday night, police say.

At a Tuesday news conference, Peel police said that Salina Ouk walked into a Brampton police station at around 7:30 p.m. Ouk made her escape after “there was an opportunity where she became separated from the male party,” Supt. Sean Gormley said.

Gormley said Ouk was being held in Toronto — where, exactly, he declined to say — after she was taken there against her will following an incident that saw Peel officers fire at a fleeing vehicle early Sunday morning. Ouk was able to hail a taxi from Toronto to Peel, Gormley said.

Kwami Garwood, 21, the man accused of Ouk’s alleged abduction, is now wanted on a series of new charges, including kidnapping, forceful confinement, aggravated assault, possession of a loaded or restricted firearm, dangerous operation of a vehicle, and two counts of possession of a prohibited device or ammunition.

“We anticipate a warrant will be issued today for his arrest on those offences,” Supt. Gormley told the press Tuesday morning. “Garwood still remains outstanding. His whereabouts are unknown.”

Garwood previously wanted on four outstanding arrest warrants, including a charge of first-degree murder in the July 4, 2020, shooting death of Andre Charles, 43, of Toronto.

Gormley said that Ouk does have some injuries, which he described as not life-threatening but significant. Police had said on Monday that Ouk was also treated in hospital for something not related to the abduction.

“She has been interviewed by our investigators,” Gormley said, adding that Ouk has been aiding the investigation.

Police cautioned that Garwood is believed to be armed and dangerous and should not be approached if spotted, advising instead, for the public to call 9-1-1.

Gormley said the case is a warning for people involved in troubled relationships.

“I’m hopeful that this is an eyeopener for many people,” he said, characterizing the case as a domestic incident that became heated — “it’s the reason why we were called to the (Brampton) house in the beginning.”

At the time of the July 4 shooting of Charles, Garwood was on bail for gun and drug charges, Gormley said.

“He is a big threat,” Gormley said. “Toronto police have actively been looking for him for several months,” he said, adding that Garwood, “appears to be quite savvy in avoiding the police.”

Gormley said police services across the Greater Toronto Area are teaming up to find Garwood.

“There is no doubt in my mind that he does have alliances in the Greater Toronto Area,” Gormley said. “I will warn them that if we determine that someone is aiding and abetting him we will be laying appropriate charges.”

Police said Tuesday that they have new information indicating that a Kia vehicle spotted on video near where they said Garwood briefly took Ouk after abducting her is not involved in the case.

Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit is investigating the initial incident, in which Peel officers opened fire on a vehicle allegedly driven by Garwood, with Ouk inside.

Five of the Peel Region’s 16 homicides were linked to intimate partner violence in 2020, while one was linked to a family dispute.

Intimate partner violence accounts for 28 per cent of all police-reported violent crime in Canada, according to federal data.

Jason Miller is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering crime and justice in the Peel Region. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him on email: jasonmiller@thestar.ca or follow him on Twitter: @millermotionpic

Jason Miller, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star