The destructive power of a single handgun

One gun, multiple murders

Police Chief Bill Blair
Police Chief Bill Blair speaking of Malcolm Chalmers arrest during a press conference. Photo credit: Louis Tam

After 26 months of investigation, police have arrested and charged a Toronto man with attempted murder on a TTC driver who was shot in the Morningside Avenue and Sewells Road area.

And police say the Browning 9mm automatic used in this crime was also linked to four others – one that involved the murder of Scarborough resident Kempton Howard.

By the time the gun was seized in September, 2006, “it had left a trail of destruction,” police chief Bill Blair said at a press conference on Jan. 29.

“It is my belief that other criminals have had this gun and it has made its way through a number of different hands involved in a number of different serious criminal offences,” said Blair, who believes the gun had been stolen in Canada.

On Oct. 15, 2005, driver Jaimie Pereira stopped near the Morningside and Sewells area because he saw a fight taking place. He left his vehicle to find out what was going on and was shot for his trouble.

Pereira was left blind in his left eye and is suffering some paralysis.

“The driver was doing the right thing for the right reason and as a result, shot in the head,” Detective Sergeant Mike Barsky said.

Malcolm Chalmers, 21. was arrested in a Durham court on Jan. 28, where he faced unrelated charges.

Although the suspect had been a person of interest early on in the investigation, there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him for Pereira’s attempted murder, police said.

“We were very fortunate in the last few days to have the community step forward with some vital pieces of information that we didn’t have two years ago,” Barsky said. “That allowed us to make the decision to lay charges.”

In an email to police, Pereira profusely thanked the police, detectives and witnesses involved in his particular case.

“My family and I would like to thank you for all your continuous hours and the determination on never giving up in capturing this person who tried to take my life on Oct. 15, 2005,” he wrote. “Although I will physically and emotionally never be the same, I am determined to continue a positive outlook and put this terrible incident in my past.”

According to Blair, Pereira had been “nothing but stellar for investigators involved in his case.”

The chief said he is adamant on limiting the access to handguns in our society.

“I think it is evidence of the destructive power of even a single firearm in the hands of a criminal with the intent of using it.”

Detective Sergeant Barsky surrounded by media
Detective Sergeant Barsky surrounded by media personnel as he disccuses details of Chalmers arrest. Photo credit: Louis Tam