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Chief Saunders commends officers after handguns seized in separate arrests

A gun allegedly seized from a 17-year-old boy on a TTC bus near Jane Street and Trethewey Drive at around 2 a.m. on Saturday, July 14, 2018. Toronto Police.

A spate of recent shootings in Toronto has the public on edge and police anxious to show they’re addressing the issue.

Over the past two days, Toronto police have sent out a series of news releases containing photos of handguns seized during recent arrests.

A 17-year-old boy was arrested on a TTC bus in the Jane Street and Trethewey Drive area at around 2 a.m. Saturday.

Police say the boy was found in possession of a loaded .40 caliber firearm (pictured above). He’s facing 12 charges including unauthorized possession of a firearm, possession of a loaded firearm, and possession of a firearm obtained by crime.

In another incident early Saturday morning, police say they spotted two men consuming drugs in a parked car near Highway 27 and Vice Regent Boulevard in Etobicoke. Police arrested the men who were allegedly carrying drugs and a loaded handgun (pictured below).

A third gun was allegedly seized on Sunday night just after 11 p.m. when police responded to a call for a possible impaired driver in the Dixon Road and Kipling Avenue area.

When they approached the vehicle, police say the lone male occupant jumped out and took off running.

“As the man was attempting to flee, he threw a firearm on the ground that was located shortly afterward,” police said in a release.

Police say the weapon was a loaded Ruger SR40 C .40 calibre handgun.

Police Chief Mark Saunders took to Twitter, thanking officers “who are out there 24/7 serving and keeping Toronto safe.”

His tweet included a photo of the Ruger handgun allegedly recovered during Sunday’s arrest.

Saunders’ tweets drew a mixed response on Twitter, with some thanking him, while others placed the blame for Toronto’s gun woes on a lax justice system.

“Who cares?” wrote @Nana-kayyy. “He will probably be out on bail tomorrow and commit another crime.”

Another said: “…the question remains, why do we keep releasing these offenders?”

In an interview on Breakfast Television, Saunders expressed his own frustration with the revolving doors of the legal system.

“I really think there needs to be a much louder deterrent factor,” he said. “It’s frustrating for our officers when they are arresting people with firearms, who shoot firearms, and then to watch them come back out in a very short (time). It sends, I think, the wrong message…”

Last week Saunders said Toronto police would deploy more front-line officers in the evening and overnight in a bid to tackle the city’s gun violence.

Around 200 officers will be out patrolling certain neighbourhoods between 7 p.m. and 3 a.m. starting July 20 for eight weeks.

The increase in officers is part of the city’s Gun Violence Reduction Plan.

“This plan will include adding more front-line resources during certain days between the hours of 7 p.m. and 3 a.m. when most of the gun violence takes place across the city,” Saunders said.