In the wake of a fatal police shooting this week that a bystander recorded on his cellphone, Toronto police laid another charge of second-degree murder against the driver of the suspect’s car.
The new charge announced Friday was made against 18-year-old Abdul Bassir, who was arrested in connection with the death of a second man in an incident that the police described as being connected to the first. Bassir and a 17-year-old were initially charged with attempted murder in connection with the second man’s death.
The circumstances surrounding the death of 23-year-old Corey Nadal were not immediately clear. The police, at the same time Bassir’s charge was announced, identified the 17-year-old as Nathaniel Arcand, who police said “was shot after interfering with the police investigation into the first incident.”
Nadal died at the scene.
Video of the shooting, obtained by the Toronto Star and posted to YouTube, shows the confrontation between police and three people. The man who was killed, whose name has not been released, is seen stepping in front of a squad car as it is being driven. He can be heard telling police that he was with Nadal, who was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, according to The Toronto Star.
According to the CBC, while the assault charges against Bassir may indicate that police believe Bassir is the killer of the second victim, authorities have not said whether Bassir is the real shooter, or what they believe led to the confrontation in the first place.
Police did not immediately respond to the CBC’s request for comment.
The shooting happened on Wednesday at Queen Street West and Spadina Avenue. During the incident, a bystander recorded the video and called 911. The three people seen in the video are all black, but police have said that Nadal was armed with a hammer. Nadal had been on Canada’s “most wanted” list, police said, after he failed to appear in court on a separate assault charge.
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said in a statement released Thursday that the Crown intends to pursue charges against Bassir for the attempted murder of the first victim.
“Given the circumstances of this incident, we consider the individuals involved as armed with firearms and presented that to the Crown,” Saunders said.
Police have received calls of gunshots fired at seven locations in downtown Toronto, including one close to the downtown shopping district in the area of Danforth Avenue and Wellesley Street West. This area was near the area where Nadal was shot.
To access the second 911 call, the 911 operator had to press “Emergency” twice: once for information, and then for a second request for the police’s response.
On Thursday, Toronto Mayor John Tory defended the police response, which included three ambulances being deployed to the scene.
“It is not just five people running into a park for an hour with a hammer, and that became their weapon,” Tory said, according to CNN. “Those five people did not have a weapon with them when they went into a park. My heart goes out to the family of the person who was killed and the other person who was wounded, it is not being treated in a timely fashion. I think there are some decisions that we made that were deemed not well judged, but in the police context things of that nature tend to happen very quickly.”