Monday, January 21, 2008

Police ask for witness help in Chinatown murder

Toronto police have not received a single tip from the public since they launched an investigation into a shooting in east Chinatown that killed an innocent bystander.

That's what authorities told community members who gathered Monday at a local church to hear about developments in the case.

"We have yet to receive a single phone call from this community or any other community to assist the Toronto police, in helping us in our goal to capture these killers," Insp. Peter Yuen told the crowd.

The street was packed with people when shots were fired outside the Fu Yao Supermarket on Thursday.

Hou Chang Mao, 42, was working at the Gerrard Street market when he was fatally struck. Police say he was not the intended target.

Detectives spent the weekend looking over security video footage, hoping to catch a glimpse of the person or people who mistakenly shot the father of two.

On Monday, authorities released a picture of a light-coloured car they believe is connected to the shooting.

Police are still looking to speak to two men seen running from the scene. They have said they are looking into whether the men witnessed the shooting or were the intended targets.

Hou, who has lived in Canada for two years, leaves behind an 18-year-old daughter Yun Yan and 23-year-old son Zul Xi.

"I always believed Canada was a safe and peaceful country," Yun Yan told CTV Toronto through a translator. "I don't understand why this happened to us. They need to be punished."

So far, more than $10,000 has been raised through donation boxes to help the family.

Funeral services are planned for Friday.

Gun ban debate

The shooting has renewed the debate for a gun ban in the city.

Toronto Mayor David Miller met with Ontario's Attorney General Chris Bentley Monday morning to discuss gun safety.

However, they have said they can't fight gun crime without the federal government joining in to form a united front.

"We work well together and we need the third partner to be more actively at the table," Bentley told reporters. "The handgun ban is essential, there are far too many handguns, but we also need the federal government to step up in other areas."

The slaying marks the city's third so far this year, and the second time in one week that an innocent bystander has been shot dead on a busy Toronto street.

John O'Keefe, 42, was caught in a deadly crossfire as he walked on Yonge Street on Jan. 12. He was shot once in the head and pronounced dead at the scene. Two men have been arrested and charged

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