The Galloway Boys began to gain a public profile in the late 1990s, as a long-running rivalry with the Malvern Crew in northern Scarborough grew increasingly vicious.
After a string of shootings in the early 2000s, police laid hundreds of charges on suspected Scarborough gang members, ranging from robbery to first-degree murder. And in 2009, Tyshan Riley, Phillip Atkins and Jason Wisdom, all members of the Galloway Boys, were convicted of first-degree murder, attempted murder and committing murder for the benefit of a criminal organization. A jury concluded they were responsible for the drive-by shooting death of Brenton (Junior) Charlton, whose SUV they mistakenly thought belonged to the Malvern gang.
Since those convictions, community workers in the Kingston-Galloway neighbourhood say they no longer consider the Galloway Boys to be a serious threat, and many younger kids in the neighbourhood don't even recognize the gang's name, says Damon (Soul-R) Maraj, who directs an organization called IMPACT n' Communities. Police say the new generation of Galloway Boys has a core group of just four or five people –a number Mr. Maraj says sounds like a fair estimate.
But police also say they believe older gang members have been "mentoring" younger ones, a suggestion community workers dispute.
Police blame recent violence on a battle for turf and leadership. "The conflict between the Galloway Boys and other neighbourhoods in Scarborough area … is being fuelled by the Galloway Boys' propensity for violence, their ability to obtain guns and their willingness to seek revenge," Detective Sergeant Brett Nicol said.
Members of the Galloway Boys turned up at the community barbecue on Danzig Street, where they began doing "G checks" to verify where partygoers were coming from, police said. When they ran into people from the Malvern neighbourhood, a confrontation broke out and the Malvern group was ordered to leave. But the group came back with reinforcements, police allege, leading to a shootout that killed two people and injured 23 others, including a toddler.