After a day of reversals, Toronto police have released the name of a 15-year-old Toronto boy who was fatally wounded Monday night by a gunshot wound to the stomach.
A 17-year-old youth was charged with manslaughter in the shooting death Wednesday.
The victim, who lived in a public-housing complex in the Jane/Finch neighbourhood in the city's north end, was identified Wednesday afternoon as St. Aubyn Rodney, whose death was the city's 6th homicide of the year.
The homicide squad released St. Aubyn's name Wednesday morning, but an hour or so later advised media that for for legal reasons they should withhold it.
Then police changed tack again, and said his name – unlike that of the accused 17-year-old, which remains shielded under the Youth Criminal Justice Act – could be published.
As the story unfolded Tuesday morning, there was also confusion as to St. Aubyn's age – either 15 or 18 – which made a substantial difference to the story, given that two other juveniles have been shot dead in Greater Toronto so far this year.
When one juvenile is allegedly murdered by another, the name of the victim is often withheld, on grounds that it might identify the accused.
In this case, Detective Mike Carbone of the homicide squad told reporters at 31 Division police station, St. Aubyn's name had to be withheld until his parents consented to its release.
The accused 17-year-old and St. Aubyn knew each other, he added.
"The deceased was in the company of several of his friends and at some point a firearm was produced and the deceased was shot," he said.
"Due to the ongoing criminal investigation, I cannot comment any further as to the specifics of what we have discovered to date."
Unlike a murder charge, manslaughter generally indicates authorities believe the perpetrator acted deliberately but did not intend to kill the victim.
Det. Carbone, however, would not comment on whether the boy's death could have been accidental, saying only that police believe an "unlawful act" played a part in events.
"We are still in the process of interviewing witnesses and my appeal here today is to look for more," he said. "I don't want to taint whatever result we get as a result of reaching out to the media."
Police from 31 Division responded to a report of gunshots at a home on Turf Grassway, a low-rise complex with a tough reputation, shortly after 10:30 p.m. Monday.
St. Aubyn was taken to hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries, and three other teenagers – one adult and two juveniles – were detained for questioning.
The 17-year-old facing the manslaughter charge was scheduled to appear in youth court Wednesday.
The other two suspects also face criminal charges, police said, but those charges – breach of court orders – have no bearing on the death of St. Aubyn.
Detectives said the investigation was continuing.
St. Aubyn, mourned by friends at a wake Tuesday, and named in numerous sad Twitter postings, was the third juvenile to be killed by gun violence in recent weeks.
In mid-January, 15 year-old Tyson Bailey was fatally shot in the neck by a gunman lurking in a stairwell of a Regent Park high-rise close to where the teen lived.
A few days later 9-year-old Kesean Williams of Brampton was killed in his home. Peel Regional Police said the shooting was targeted, but it remains unclear who the intended target was.
No arrests have been made in either of those homicides.