The Brampton shooting that killed an innocent bystander last week is not considered suspicious, according to Ontario police.
Investigators said on Friday that they would take over the case, after officers responded to reports of shots fired on Brock Road on 23 January and found a man who had suffered serious injuries. He was rushed to hospital but died there one week later.
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The shooting investigation is now closed, and an autopsy report has determined that the man’s injuries were consistent with what was described as a single gunshot wound.
The announcement of the transfer of the case did not shed light on why the local force is taking over and gave no further information about the intended targets or motive behind the shooting. The case remained under investigation on Friday.
Police officers have since searched a van belonging to the victim. The vehicle was found several blocks away from the scene of the shooting and officers carted away a white man’s head, chest and back. The car seats and steering wheel of the vehicle were removed and truck’s seats are still inside.
Officers with the assistance of the Special Tactical Response Team surrounded the trailer house, which according to neighbours houses more than 40 people and a cookout area inside.
“I’m just shocked,” said Georgia Brajkovic, who lived in the trailer home and shares the space with several other families.
“Everyone’s in shock and in disbelief because I have a 19-year-old son and I don’t want him to grow up like that,” she said.
Brajkovic said that after the shooting her neighbour, who shared the trailer with other families, evacuated the community.
“It’s the same old story over and over again,” she said. “The police, the general public and the city of Brampton is afraid. It’s the gangs. It’s there, it’s right here.”
Once the police officers search the van, they will take it to an undisclosed location for further testing, police said.
As Brampton officials try to work with residents on the issue of safety in the area, the province’s police watchdog has stepped in to lead the criminal investigation after the provincial coroner requested that the Ontario police oversight agency, OPSEU, lead the file.
A recording of the hotline of the Special Investigations Unit has been set up for people who live in Brampton. Calls from those living in the area can be given to a non-emergency line, 705-882-8345. The investigation remains active and will be updated throughout the day.
“The apprehension of one violent killer may be difficult, but another perpetrator will not be able to operate without being confronted,” said Tim Denton, chair of the OPSEU board. “While this investigation is still under way and we wait for the SIU to process the evidence, we will continue to assist and support our staff with our expertise in this field.”