After expressing condolences for the victim families in the recent homicide investigations, Chief Geoff Nelson pointed out that regardless of the fact that many communities have the same criminal activity as Brantford, the recent activity of “gun violence and homicides in Brantford is (currently) twice that of Toronto”.
Granted the two community population bases are so dramatically different, this anomaly gives an exaggerated and frightening perspective locally.
However, since January 2019, there have been: 23 gun-related incidents; 11 representing illegal gun possession; 12 related to shootings; 11 victims in those shootings; and 4 fatalities as a result including the two yesterday.
The police media scrum at the Brantford Police Station today indicated there are two suspect vehicles , and one suspect being sought after. They believe the Black Chrysler 300 found on Rowanwood Drive yesterday is one of them.
#1 Black Chrysler 300 4 door black, Shiny chrome trim around the doors. It had “10 spoke” shiny chrome rims with “blacked out” windows with black door handles.
#2 Dark grey or black vehicle – make and model are still being investigated.
#3 Suspect #1 male, wearing all black with a balaclava covering his face.
The two victims from yesterday’s tragic event were Larry Reynolds, 64 years and Lynn VanEvery, 62 years, husband and wife. Chief Nelson indicated there were three others in the home on Park Road South off of Colborne Street, but none were injured or considered suspects.
It is being described as a targeted hit which means it involved criminal activity or high-risk lifestyle choices, but further details including motive are being withheld pending completion of the investigation.
The Police Service advises the neighbourhood and the Brant community that there is nothing random about this incident and citizens should not fear further shootings as a result.
Chief Nelson explained that the municipality recognizes the need to protect the safety of its citizens and agreed to form a Gun Violence Task Force which began operation in April. Since that introduction, the Task Force has made 20 arrests and executed 15 search warrants including four individuals arrested yesterday and guns seized. One statistic resulting is that most of the violence is from transients taking up residency in the Brantford and surrounding area.
Chief Nelson also respects and appreciates those citizens that recognize unusual behavior and report to authorities as was the case in yesterday’s events.
As a result of this preponderance of violent gun activity, the Brantford Police Services Board under Chair Vince Bucci has sent a letter to the Ontario Attorney General requesting support for local grants to address the increased attention. Chief Nelson is proposing special funding from the province as previous government initiatives did not recognize the escalation of criminal activity locally specifically.
This issue touches us all and has an expectation that our municipal and provincial taxes be allocated for full community safety.
Mayor Davis and M.P.P. Bouma should be using their representation on municipal advocacy groups and the M.P.P. as Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier to expedite this request before we have to grieve even one more citizen murdered in our neighbourhoods: neither of you want this on your resume.