07/22/2012 06:46 EDT | Updated 09/21/2012 05:12 EDT

Toronto Gun Violence Focus Of Leaders' Summit


The prevention of gun violence will be the topic of conversation when Toronto Mayor Rob Ford meets with the city's police Chief Bill Blair, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and other members of the provincial government Monday.

According to the most recent stats posted on the Toronto police website, 21 people have been killed as a result of gun violence since the start of the year.

Four of those victims have been killed since last Monday evening, when two people got into an argument and a shooting erupted at a block party on Danzig Street in the city's east end. Two people died as a result and 23 others were wounded.

By Thursday morning, two more people had died in separate gun-related killings in the city — one in a parking lot on the edge of a soccer field, the other in a schoolyard.

Monday’s summit involving the police chief, the mayor and provincial officials was called in response to the Danzig Street shooting.

The goal is to talk about methods of preventing such incidents in future, though the mayor and the premier appeared far apart in their preferred approaches in advance of the meeting.

Ford has said he supports giving more resources to police, while the premier has said a balanced approach is needed, with an eye to the long-term nature of the problem of gun violence.

Funeral for Danzig Street shooting victim

While the leaders meet to discuss how to prevent similar events in future, a group of friends and family will gather to remember one of the victims of the Danzig Street shooting.

Joshua Yasay was one of two people who lost their lives in the block party shooting, along with 14-year-old Shyanne Charles, a Toronto teenager who lived in the neighbourhood and who was due to begin high school in the fall.

Yasay worked for a security company and he had earned a degree in criminology from York University. The Ajax, Ont., resident wanted to become police officer and he had volunteered with youth for several years.

A friend who attended a weekend visitation for Yasay said he was a passionate basketball fan, coach and dedicated volunteer.

"It was just so random, you know. He’s not one of those people to be involved in anything bad," said Michael Zajc, still coming to terms with his friend’s death.

"He does community work, he finished criminology, he stands up for justice — and justice has to be had right now, because what he stands for, it’s not happening in our city."

Yasay’s funeral takes place Monday.

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