By Natalie Alcoba, Mark Sutcliffe and Mark Stevenson, The Washington Post
Toronto police said Friday they have laid a second charge against a person in connection with a fatal police shooting last month in which several black people were shot, a possible escalation of tensions in the city.
Darwin Armfield, a former gang member, is facing one count of second-degree murder in the Dec. 1 shooting that killed 66-year-old Julian Brown. He will appear in court on Jan. 10.
In a statement Friday, police Chief Mark Saunders said Armfield “was allegedly part of a black male gang seeking a hitman to eliminate a rival member. He was the person who made the traffic stop and who fired several shots into the vehicle.”
Armfield was charged Wednesday with unauthorized possession of a firearm. He was released that same day with no conditions, according to court records.
Saunders called the charges “an important step forward” in the investigation.
The Dec. 1 shooting was part of a series of racially charged confrontations in and around downtown Toronto over the last year.
The provincial government of Ontario announced earlier this month that it would give Toronto police $44 million over the next five years to address racial bias, following months of pressure from Toronto City Council.
On Friday, a group of protesters with the group Black Lives Matter Toronto marched through downtown Toronto, forming a human chain to block traffic on Yonge Street.
Four black men were arrested in October in connection with a rally in the center of the city.
On Sept. 29, police fatally shot 18-year-old Serena Jack and injured others when they stormed an apartment building in the Near West Side neighborhood. Jack was black. Two men, one of them a 16-year-old, have been charged with attempted murder.
In September, Andre Joseph Bailey, 50, died after being assaulted in an altercation with several people. Police said Bailey was swinging a butcher knife when he was confronted by several people in a second-floor apartment.
Earlier this month, Toronto police said a man driving a car fatally hit a teen who was waiting to get into a bus along a city street. The incident followed separate killings of black youths in separate incidents.