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Man facing 15 charges after daytime shooting of Toronto lawyer

Randall Barrs on stretcher after being shot in Toronto on Tuesday.

Peter Schilling/THE CANADIAN PRESS

A 51-year-old man is facing 15 charges related to the daytime shooting of prominent Toronto lawyer Randall Barrs, who was released from hospital just one day after facing a volley of gunshots.

Grayson Delong has been charged with attempted murder, disguise with intent to commit an indictable offence and a handful of gun-related charges in relation to the afternoon shooting that left both Mr. Barrs, 66, and his alleged attacker with serious injuries.

Mr. Delong appeared before a justice of the peace in hospital Thursday and will remain in police custody until his next court appearance Sept. 26. He was previously on bail for an unrelated break and enter charge in Peel Region. Prosecutor Nancy Krigas said the crown will seek to revoke Mr. Delong's current bail condition.

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While the gunman managed to squeeze off at least six shots at Mr. Barrs, according to witnesses, a source close to the lawyer said he's doing well considering the circumstances.

"He's fine," said the source. "He's okay. It's nothing life-threatening."

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Multiple witnesses of the Tuesday shooting described a scene of cinematic improbability.

Around 3:30 p.m., a middle-aged man in a construction vest approached a besuited Mr. Barrs outside his Bedford Road law office, pulled a gun and squeezed off three or four shots.

The shooter retreated to a grey Honda Civic, then noticed Mr. Barrs moving on the ground. The shooter fired at least two more longer-range shots.

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Before he could inflict further damage, plainclothes officers from the Halton Regional Police Service, a force whose jurisdictional boundaries end about 40 kilometres west from the scene of the crime, appeared and shot the man in the construction vest.

He is now recuperating after undergoing surgery on Tuesday night.

The Special Investigations Unit, an agency that probes all police shootings in the province, is in charge of the case. The agency has identified one subject officer and four witness officers.

Investigators now allege the initial shooter was Mr. Delong, according to court filings, and his relationship to the lawyer has yet to be disclosed.

An area man with the same name and age has long had run-ins with police in Mississauga and Toronto.

In a case before the Ontario Court of Appeal in 2008, a Grayson Delong was described as having "an extensive criminal record, which spans more than two decades and contains over 60 convictions including a conviction for escape lawful custody and numerous convictions for property offences."

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In 1985, for example, a pizzeria owner alleged that Mr. Delong struck him with a chair. There was a scuffle when Peel Region police officers went to arrest him. He complained of police brutality but the officers were cleared.

On another occasion, in May of 1993, Mr. Delong and his sister, Susan, were charged after police said the duo yelled at them and mooned them, then punched and kicked them when officers intervened.

Six months later, two Peel constables suffered broken noses while arresting Mr. Delong and two others on allegations that he had threatened to kill a taxi driver.

According to trial evidence, the case before the court appeal stemmed from a 2006 incident when Mr. Delong stole a van and was chased by Toronto police as he headed north on the Don Valley Parkway.

He ditched the van, jumped over the median's concrete barrier and ran across three lanes of southbound traffic. He was caught by a police dog that he then tried to choke.

The recent shooting bears at least two hallmarks of a gangland hit.

The Honda Civic used by the gunman had a licence plate that had been reported missing by Brampton resident Retty Widjaya on Sept. 12, according to public records.

The licence plate was registered for a silver 2012 Honda Civic. While the vehicle in Tuesday's shooting was also a silver Honda Civic, it was much earlier model.

Stealing a licence plate to conceal ownership is a familiar tactic among organized crime.

It is unclear whether Mr. Delong has connections to criminal bikers.

The construction attire is another calling card of organized crime in the city. Most infamously, a man in construction garb gunned down 35-year-old Johnny Raposo at a popular Little Italy café in 2012. Authorities later alleged the gang-style hit was hatched by a high-level drug dealer with ties to the Hells Angels.

This year, gangster Sukhvir Deo died amid a hail of 14 bullets in the Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue area. Police said two suspects wearing construction vests fled the scene in a black Honda Civic.

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About the Authors
National reporter

Patrick previously worked in the Globe's Winnipeg bureau, covering the Prairies and Nunavut, and at Toronto City Hall. He is a National Magazine Award recipient and author of the book Mountie In Mukluks. More

National reporter

Tu Thanh Ha is based in Toronto and writes frequently about judicial, political and security issues. He spent 12 years as a correspondent for the Globe and Mail in Montreal, reporting on Quebec politics, organized crime, terror suspects, space flights and native issues. More

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