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More violence descends on Somali-Canadian community as man shot dead

Toronto Police car.

JENNIFER ROBERTS/The Globe and Mail

Police are investigating after a 28-year-old man was found shot to death in an upscale condominium in Toronto's north end on Saturday evening.

A man police identified as Hussein Hussein was found in a ninth-floor apartment at 100 Harrison Garden Blvd. near Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue.

Mr. Hussein is a member of Toronto's Somali-Canadian community and also went by the name Gedi Hussein, sources from the community told The Globe and Mail.

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But he was usually referred to by the nickname "Biggie," the sources said.

A man named Gedi Hussein was called to testify in the 2008 slaying of another Somali-Canadian in Alberta several years ago.

Mohamed Ibrahim, 24, was killed outside the River Cree Casino near Edmonton in 2008. Adam Michael Brown and Alexander Reid were found guilty of second-degree murder in that case – a rare set of convictions in the string of cases involving Somali-Canadians in Alberta.

Since 2005, at least 23 Somali-Canadians have been killed working in the province. Most of the deaths remain unsolved, and many of the young victims had come from Toronto to work in Edmonton or Fort McMurray.

Others, like Mr. Hussein, have died after returning to Toronto from Alberta.

Earlier this month, Ahmed Hassan was one of two men killed in a brazen daylight shooting at Toronto's Eaton Centre shopping mall.

The 24-year-old had been living in Alberta, where he was charged with cocaine trafficking in 2010, but moved back to Toronto shortly before he was killed.

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The death toll has led to calls from community leaders for governments to do more to help young Somali-Canadians find employment opportunities and better support networks.

An estimated 80,000 Somali-Canadians live in Toronto, according to community leaders, and another 3,000 now live in Fort McMurray, the epicentre of Alberta's lucrative oil patch.

Many work in the oil fields or in manufacturing jobs nearby, capitalizing on a boom that has attracted job-seekers from across the country.

But a minority of Somali-Canadians who made the trek west have become involved in the city's drug trade, selling crack cocaine and the powdered form of the drug for much higher profits than they would make working low-skill jobs in the area.

The trade has turned deadly for some, as rivalries forged in Toronto are revived in Alberta and dealers battle for customers and cash.

Police have not said whether Mr. Hussein's death is related to the drug trade or his time in Alberta.

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Police said a post-mortem examination is scheduled for Monday in Mr. Hussein's death.

They said they are looking to identify four to five men who were seen leaving the condominium shortly after he was shot.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Kim Mackrael has been a reporter for The Globe and Mail since 2011. She joined the Ottawa bureau Sept. 2012. More

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