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Man killed at Toronto playground was shot after an altercation, police say

Toronto homicide victim James Massey.

The man who was killed this week at a playground in Forest Hill's Oriole Park was a labourer shot in the belly after an altercation, Toronto police said.

The victim, who lived in the vicinity of the park, was identified as James Massey, 32, a general labourer. He was killed by a gunshot blast fired at close range.

"This wasn't a random attack," homicide squad Detective Sergeant Gary Giroux told reporters Thursday.

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"There isn't an individual going around harming people at random. Clearly the offender and the deceased had some kind of pre-existing baggage and that baggage was meted out in the park that night."

Police were called to Oriole Park before 3 a.m. Wednesday.

Witnesses reported that someone spoke loudly for several minutes before a shot was fired.

"A single angry voice could be heard by area residents prior to the sound of that single gun shot," Det. Sgt. Giroux said.

"The argument is described by witnesses as one-sided."

Mr. Massey was hit in the belly. He was discovered in the children's playground at the east end of the park, near the corner of Yonge Street and Chaplin Crescent.

He was declared dead at the scene by EMS paramedics.

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A suspect was seen exiting towards the south side of the park, towards a series of apartment buildings on Lascelles Boulevard.

The suspect is an unshaven white man in his late 20s of medium built. He was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and baggie jeans.

Mr. Massey is a single man with no children. It wasn't unusual for him to be out late, Det. Sgt. Giroux said.

While Mr. Massey had been stopped once by police before, he didn't lead a "criminal high-risk lifestyle," the detective said.

There was no robbery, he said. "It clearly was a personal attack."

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About the Author
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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