Toronto police say man accused of randomly shooting 2 people was planning to kill more
Toronto Police have just revealed a disturbing link between the recent murders of two young men in Toronto — neither of whom knew each other, or the complete stranger who shot them to death on separate occasions in different parts of the city.
It would appear as though 21-year-old international student Kartik Vasudev and 35-year-old Toronto resident Elijah Eleazar Mahepath were both tragically and inexplicably killed by the same person within just over 48 hours of each other.
Both attacks are believed to have been completely random, and police fear that there would have been more slayings if not for the quick actions of investigators, who located 39-year-old suspect Richard Jonathan Edwin in his home at Bloor and Spadina surrounded by firearms on Sunday evening.
"Given that he had already killed two apparent strangers, as we allege, and that a cache of firearms was located in his residence, we can reasonably conclude that the quick work of our investigators has prevented a further loss of life," said Toronto Police Chief James Ramer during a press conference at TPS headquarters on Tuesday.
"My personal opinion is that there were going to be more victims. When? I don't know, but he had an arsenal at home, and I quite frankly believe this might have been the first step," said Ramer in response to a question later in the presser. "I think the intention was to continue."
Chief Ramer announces arrest of male in two recent homicides in our division-https://t.co/oNqRoatpCM— 51 Division (@TPS51Div) April 12, 2022
Police announced this morning that Edwin had been arrested and is charged with two counts of first degree murder in connection with homicides number 19 and 20 of 2022.
The first victim, Kartik Vasudev, was an international student studying business at Seneca College. He had arrived in Toronto from his native India just four months prior to his killing.
Police say that Vasudev was "approached by a complete stranger" around 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 7, at the Glen Road entrance of Sherbourne Subway Station.
"Investigators allege that Richard Jonathan Edwin discharged a handgun striking the victim multiple times before fleeing the scene," said police in a release on Tuesday.
Vasudev was located with multiple gunshot wounds and taken to hospital where he died as a result of his injuries, sparking a torrent of outcries for justice among his peers in both Toronto and India.
Two days later, on Saturday, April 9, just before 7 p.m., 35-year-old Elijah Eleazar Mahepath of Toronto was similarly approached by an apparent stranger and shot multiple times on the north side of Dundas Street East near George Street.
Mahepath, who was said to have been out shopping for groceries, was rushed to hospital and succumbed to his injuries.
"He was just coming from running errands, grocery shopping, on his way to his next location, and for reasons that are unclear and may never be clear, his life was taken," said Detective Sergeant Terry Browne of TPS Homicide when referring to Mahepath.
While they acknowledged that both victims were visible minorities, police are not labelling the incidents as hate crimes at this time.
"I wouldn't want to speculate on whether someone was targeted based on their background or ethnicity, because we just don't have that information," said Browne when asked about the link, noting that it's unclear if the suspect ever even had face-to-face sightlines with the victims.
"We can't say with certainty that he would have in fact been able to see their ethnicity," said Browne.
"We have nothing to suggest he knew either one of them, and more importantly, what we believe at this stage anyways, is that it was what we do describe as random. It was a chance meeting, a chance passing, and for reasons that are only known to the suspect, these two people were victimized on that day, and now are dead."
#Exclusive A Toronto Police forensic investigator removes two rifles from the home where Richard Edwin was arrested in a high risk takedown Sunday night. Edwin is now accused of 2 counts of First Degree Murder for the fatal shootings of Kartik Vasudev and Elijah Mahepath pic.twitter.com/jbTG8ktmdq— Catherine McDonald (@cmcdonaldglobal) April 12, 2022
With the assistance of the Emergency Task Force, Toronto Police entered Edwin's home in the Bloor and Spadina area on the evening of April, 10, and arrested him safely and without incident, "despite the fact that the accused had several loaded firearms on the floor next to him."
A search warrant of the home revealed several firearms on the premises, including handguns, rifles, loaded magaiznes and other ammunition.
Ramer says that Edwin's swift arrest was the result of an "all out effort to track the killer" with help from the TTC, Metrolinx and members of the public.
The suspect remains in custody, and police say they have no reason to believe there is an ongoing threat to the public. Not anymore.
"What was he planning?" said Browne of the suspect. "Perhaps there was something planned for the future. We don't know that. We do know that it's not going to happen. If something was planned, it's not going to happen... because quick action was taken."
Ramer is reminding all members of the public to stay cautious and vigilant while out in public, and that "if you see something, you have to say something."
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