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22-year-old man is Toronto's 89th homicide of the year

Last Updated Nov 14, 2018 at 4:53 pm EDT

A 22-year-old man is dead after he was shot in the city’s northwest end early Wednesday morning.

Police say they were called to Ann Arbour Road in the area of Albion and Weston roads shortly after midnight after receiving several 911 calls about shots being fired.

Det.-Sgt. Mike Carbone says the initial investigation has revealed the victim was sitting in a car when another vehicle approached with an apparent acquaintance inside. A third vehicle approached and the victim was shot as he sat in his car.

Police say the group in the second car then proceeded to shoot at the individuals in the third car before both vehicles fled the scene.

Police say between 10 and 20 shots were fired and they came from at least four guns.

Police say a gun was recovered from the victim, however it was not used in the exchange of gunfire.

The victim was taken to a trauma centre where he died. He has been identified as Yohannes Brhanu.

Police say one person was taken into custody and was released without charges.

There are no suspect descriptions at this time as police continue to canvass the area for witnesses and surveillance video.

Brhanu is the city’s 89th homicide victim of the year which matches the record set in 1991.

Acting Insp. Hank Idsinga, current head of the force’s homicide unit, noted that the homicide rate has remained relatively static in the years since 1991 even as the city’s population has grown considerably. Toronto boasted 2.3 million residents in 1991, compared to a population of 2.7 million as of the 2016 census.

Both 1991 and 2018, Idsinga added, were somewhat unusual in that they featured a number of multiple-homicide incidents.

In 1991, the city saw a series of multiple fatalities in and around its Chinatown neighbourhood, Idsinga said, attributing some of the slayings to conflicts between Asian gangs.

Gang warfare appears to have played a role so far in 2018 too, Idsinga said, though two other multiple homicides have done more to drive up the numbers.

Ten people were killed on a single afternoon in April when a man allegedly drove a rental van down a crowded stretch of Yonge Street in the city’s north end. Alek Minassian is now facing 10 first-degree murder charges in that case.

In July, police said Faisal Hussain opened fire in the bustling Danforth neighbourhood, killing two people and injuring 13 others before he shot himself and was found dead.

While methods used in homicide cases vary, Idsinga said the manner in which people are killed has little to do with how the force approaches its investigations.

“There’s still 89 victims of murder,” he said. “There’s still 89 cases that have to be investigated.”

Files from The Canadian Press were used in this report