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Monday, 21 January 2008

Hou Chang Mao

Hou Chang Mao, 47, was working at Fu Yao Supermarket, at 643 Gerrard St. East, near Broadview Avenue, when he was hit in the chest by a stray bullet shortly after 6 p.m. He was taken to hospital but could not be revived.
Homicide investigators said Hou, who has a 23-year-old son and 18-year-old daughter, was an innocent bystander.
"He didn't walk in the way. He was working," Det. Sgt. Pauline Grey said at a press conference. "He wasn't walking in the path of gunfire. He was going about his everyday business."
Grey said at least two people were involved in the gun battle and two handguns were used as different shell casings were found at the scene.
Investigators are urging two young men who witnessed the shooting to contact police.
"These two gentlemen know what's happened, they know why it happened, and this is their opportunity to come to the Toronto Police Service homicide squad and tell us that information," Grey said.
The witnesses are described as two young black men, about 6-feet-tall, who fled in a small, silver-coloured vehicle that had a "very shiny" front grill.
Grey said officers are poring over surveillance camera footage in the area.
She also appealed to anyone who was in the area during the shooting to call police and tell them what they heard or saw.
"It was very busy at 6 p.m. I can tell you that the streets were full -- it was like Manhattan, and there are many, many people out there who saw what happened," Grey said. "They don't have to know the whole story, they just have to see one little, tiny piece."
Grey, who wouldn't comment on the specifics of the investigation or a possible motive, said the culprits must know they've committed a terrible act.
"Even they have to understand the depth of what they've done. They cannot, in all good conscience, walk away and know that they've killed an innocent man who was doing his job," she said.
"That has to touch somewhere, that they've been involved in something truly horrific."
Police say the incident was sparked by an argument between several people, which resulted in guns being drawn. Several shots were fired. One shop had a bullet hole in its front window and the windshield of a parked car was also hit.


Those who knew Hou described him as a hard-working, honest man who was well liked in the neighbourhood. Just last week, he helped hang Chinese New Year banners in the area, friends said.
Hou came to Canada from China two years ago, and has worked at the store for that time. His wife lives in China.
Hou lived with his daughter Yun Yam and son Zoo-Zee just a 10-minute walk from where he worked. Other relatives, who also lived at the home, are "extremely upset and extremely distraught," police told CTV Toronto.
The city is setting up a trust fund at Scotiabank to help the family pay for the funeral.
Local residents said they were shocked by the death and shaken by the frightening incident.
"I shop there all time," said one woman. "It could have been me -- I went home from work early yesterday."
"I think there were two bangs, and then four," one witness said. "I wondered what it was. I could have been right there."
The slaying marks the city's third so far this year, and the second time in one week that an innocent bystander has been shot dead on a busy Toronto street.
Early Saturday morning, 42-year-old John O'Keefe was caught in a deadly crossfire as he walked on Yonge Street. O'Keefe, a father of one, was not the intended target. He was shot once in the head and pronounced dead at the scene. Two men have been arrested and charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder in the slaying.

O'Keefe was laid to rest on Friday. Those in attendance expressed disbelief that it could happen again so soon.

"It's so very tragic for everybody. And I wish they could do something, because guns kill people. That's what they do," one woman said.

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