Two shot in Richmond Hill, likely related to GTA tow ‘turf war’

Toronto, Ontario — An adult man involved in the GTA’s towing sector and a child were shot in a Thornhill, Ontario parking lot Sunday night. Police say the issue might be related to an ongoing ‘turf war’ between members of the industry.

A 30-year-old man was shot as he parked a vehicle in the Promenade Mall’s parking lot.

A second victim, 17, was hit by bullets while standing in the lot. It is unknown if the child was directly targetted or if the shots were directed at another person.

The shooter is described as having worn a mask and is thought to have been male.

At the time of publication, the child is listed as being in stable condition, while the driver remains listed as in critical condition.

An investigation of the parking lot is ongoing.

This is not the first incident of violence targetting the GTA towing community in recent weeks.

A very similar incident occurred on December 11, when a tow truck driver in a Richmond Hill parking lot had his vehicle rammed by a white pickup truck before its driver took out a firearm and shot at the driver.

In the early hours of December 23, three tow trucks were set ablaze in Hamilton, with the crimes all reported to Hamilton Police in the same one-hour period.

Then, on December 23, the towing community woke up to news that five tow trucks had been torched in North York, and two more in Richmond Hill.

In June, an interdepartmental operation against the Chester Le street gang, located in the GTA, involved the arrest of several tow truck operators affiliated with the gang.

Seven tow truck drivers’ vehicles were believed to have been used in at least two crash-and-grab burglaries of jewelry stores in the GTA.

Toronto’s deputy police chief James Ramer said the gang and its associates had been linked to everything from murder, to drug trafficking and crimes involving the use of tow trucks as battering rams.

“In two robberies in particular, tow trucks smashed their way through the front of jewelry stores and firearms were discharged,” he told reporters.

“[Some of the seven operators] had armed themselves and were prepared to shoot other tow truck operators over an ongoing battle over territory,” Ramer told the press.

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