Man in Toronto housing program charged with multiple weapon offences

Aug 12 2020, 1:57 pm

The Toronto Police Service arrested and charged a man in Toronto housing with multiple weapon offences on Tuesday.

Police say that at approximately 2:47 am on August 11, officers responded to “a person with a gun call” in the Broadway Avenue and Redpath Avenue area — right by the 55/65 Broadway Avenue housing program.

It is alleged that Demarcus Townsend, 25, was in possession of a handgun that fell to the ground, after which police were alerted and then located managed to locate him.

Townsend was arrested at the scene and a search was conducted of the area.

And, the firearm — a modified pellet gun which contained ammunition — was located nearby.

Police say that they also conducted a search of the property nearby and uncovered more rounds of ammunition.

Townsend has been charged with various offences which include: possession of a firearm knowing its possession is unauthorized; possession of a firearm knowing its serial number has been tampered with; possession of prohibited/restricted firearm with ammunition; unauthorized possession of a firearm; carrying a concealed weapon; possession of a prohibited device or ammunition; possession of firearm or ammunition contrary to prohibition order; fail to comply with probation order; and possession of a weapon.

Police say the investigation remains ongoing.

“The City of Toronto thanks the Toronto Police Service for their swift action in an arrest early this morning relating to weapons charges of a resident at 55/65 Broadway Ave. site – a City of Toronto housing program. The City also thanks its staff at this site for alerting police to the alleged presence of a gun on the property,” the City’s statement from Tuesday reads.

The City added that weapons of any kind are not permitted in its shelters and that the safety of all Toronto residents, including those residing in the shelter system, City staff and the community is “the City’s first and foremost priority.”

“The fact that staff and police responded swiftly is a testament to the priority safety takes at the City of Toronto. It also speaks to the system working as designed: when public safety is at risk, swift action is taken.”

According to the City, since mid-March — when COVID-19 began to circulate in Toronto — they have moved more than 3,500 people throughout Toronto’s emergency shelter system. This includes more than 1,500 individuals who have been transitioned to permanent housing, to achieve physical distancing of two metres between shelter beds.

Currently, the 55/65 Broadway Avenue housing program program is temporary, with clients being sent to this site since April 29.

Now, case management and housing search supports have been provided, resulting in permanent housing for 14 clients.

The City says it will vacate the site at the end of August and is working with all current residents on permanent housing plans.

And, clients will be assisted to move to an alternate temporary location in another neighbourhood if permanent housing cannot be secured before the shelter closes.

On August 5, at the same shelter, a man was arrested for allegedly stabbing a City staff.

Clarrie FeinsteinClarrie Feinstein

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