A 21-year-old man who died after he was shot by police in a North York park on Monday morning was a close friend of Sammy Yatim, his family claims.
Toronto police were initially called to the Leslie subway station around 11 p.m. Sunday for reports of two people fighting, one armed with a gun.
One of the men fled on foot to Villaways Park, near Leslie Street and Sheppard Avenue East.
According to Melissa Wettlaufer, police followed her brother, Alex Wettlaufer, into a park. His mother and brother then went looking for him when they heard three shots.
She said Alex did not have a weapon with him in the park, just a phone. When he refused to drop what he was holding, they shot him, she said.
The family claims he was friends with Sammy Yatim.
“We hope it’s not going to be another Sammy thing again because that was his best friend in school,” Melissa told 680 NEWS.
Yatim died after he was shot by Toronto police Const. James Forcillo in 2012.
It’s still not clear what happened between the time officers arrived at the park and the man being shot.
“There was a confrontation involving Toronto police officers and a police firearm was discharged,” the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), who has now taken over the case, said in a release.
The man suffered two gunshot wounds – one to the chest and the other to the abdomen. He was rushed to hospital without vital signs around 12:30 a.m. where he was later pronounced dead.
SIU confirming male in firearm incident at Leslie and Sheppard was taken to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre where he was pronounced dead.
— SIU (@SIUOntario) March 14, 2016
The SIU is an arm’s length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.