The Galloway Boys gang, known for its “propensity for violence … and willingness to seek revenge,” is linked to a shocking amount of recent violence in Scarborough, police said Tuesday, including the fatal mass shooting at a community barbecue on Danzig Street, the murder of D’Mitre Barnaby and several other shootings.
The gang’s efforts to protect its territory, in the Kingston and Galloway roads area, have fuelled the violence that has claimed the lives of three young people and wounded several others, police claim.
Investigators are pleading with witnesses and others who can help identify gang members to step up and testify against the gunmen. Fear of retaliation is apparently behind the silence.
“We need people to stand up and testify against these people,” Det.-Sgt. Peter Trimble said on Danzig Street Tuesday, near the scene of the worst mass shooting in the city’s history.
“I am sad to report that unfortunately some of the (Danzig) victims … have not been cooperative even though they were struck by bullets. Some of them have refused to talk to us.”
Trimble said members of the Galloway Boys attended the community party at 105 Danzig St. on July 16. One gang member used social media to claim the party as his own and offered free cognac. More than 100 people were at the party when the gunfire erupted.
Gang members started conducting so-called G-checks — confronting people to find out where they’re from. Gang members asked people from Malvern to leave the party, who later returned with friends and a second confrontation ended in the infamous shootout that killed Shyanne Charles, 14 and Joshua Yasay, 23. Twenty-three other people, including a toddler, were also injured in the shooting.
Trimble said five or six shooters — “a small group of punks” — were involved. Two men have already been arrested in the case — alleged Galloway Boy Nahom “Gifted” Tsegazab, 19, who was charged with reckless discharge of a firearm, and Malvern man Shaquan “Bam Bam” Mesquito, 18, charged for allegedly uttering threats ahead of the Danzig shooting.
Police say gang members from Galloway and Malvern have been “at odds” for years and the two groups aren’t supposed to venture into the other’s territory.
Investigators found 25 shell casings at the scene and have since seized five guns.
In the wake of the Danzig shooting, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair beefed up the police presence at major summer events, putting hundreds of officers on mandatory overtime.
“We recognized there was a potential for retaliation and we took the steps necessary to prevent it and our investigation is making real progress,” he told CityNews on Tuesday.
Earlier Tuesday, Det.-Sgt. Brett Nicol held a news conference at the scene of another alleged Galloway Boys crime — the murder of 24-year-old D’Mitre Barnaby, who was gunned down in a parking lot on Lawrence Avenue East, near Orton Park Road, on Dec. 30, 2011.
Two Galloway Boys members, described by police as “new generation” vying for leadership roles in the gang, ambushed and shot Barnaby, mistakenly thinking he was a member of a rival group called the Orton Park Boys.
Nicol said the shooting was a case of mistaken identity — that Barnaby, who had no gang ties, bore a striking resemblance to the intended target who lives in the area and hasn’t been publicly identified.
Police released a compilation of security video showing the two suspects and Barnaby just before the murder, hoping it will prompt witnesses to step forward.
“These shooters are small, weak and cowardly and the fact is … because of their willingness to shoot guns, they’ve got the community holding back,” Nicol said.
Barnaby was sitting in a car listening to music with a friend when a white, Nissan Versa pulled into the parking lot and began circling the pair. Sensing trouble, the friend left. The two suspects, who remain at large, got out of the Nissan and followed Barnaby to another nearby lot. Barnaby was gunned down when he got out of his car.
Nicol said the “beef” with the Orton Park Boys started in the summer of 2011 and is fuelled by the Galloway Boys’ “propensity for violence, ability to obtain guns and willingness to seek revenge.” He said members are involved in a wide array of criminal activities including drugs and weapons trafficking and prostitution.
Police also believe the Galloway Boys are involved in other shootings dating back to September 2011, including:
Sept. 4, 2011: three men were shot outside a Domino’s pizza on Lawrence Avenue East.
Nov. 4, 2011: a man involved in an alleged drug deal with an alleged Galloway Boys member on Northfield Drive was shot in the neck and upper body. A man known as “Angel” Williams was recently arrested in that case. He appeared in court on Monday.
Dec. 28, 2011: Driveby shootings at 4315 Kingston Rd, just days before Barnaby’s murder.
Aug. 6, 2012: Shooting at 4100 Lawrence Ave. E., near Galloway Road.
Aug. 10, 2012: Nicol said an “up-and-coming” gang member was chased and shot at the Lawrence East RT station.
CityNews reporters Pam Seatle and Galit Solomon were in Scarborough, tweeting real-time updates on the case.