TORONTO — Two Toronto teenagers allegedly caught up in one of the city's gang wars were kidnapped, beaten, forced to play Russian roulette and sexually assaulted over two harrowing days, police said Thursday.
A Canada-wide warrant has been issued for two of the people alleged to be behind the violent abductions as police try to prevent the conflict from escalating.
This is basically gang war kidnapping with one group or gang kidnapping another group's members to make money, to send a message."
Toronto police Staff Insp. Mike Earl said the kidnapping took place hours after members of one gang tried to crash a party held by one of their rivals.
"I wouldn't call this an innocent stranger kidnapping. This is basically gang war kidnapping with one group or gang kidnapping another group's members to make money, to send a message," Earl told a news conference.
"As police officers we don't pick our victims. We're here to protect everybody, so we need to step up here and prevent retaliations by apprehending these individuals as soon as we can," he said.
Earl said the event that led to the kidnappings was an April 18 party held by members of the Young Buck Killers in a downtown condo they rented through Airbnb.
Toronto Police released a video on Wednesday of an armed altercation they say took place before the kidnapping.
Members of the Queen's Drag Crips allegedly tried to crash the festivities, leading to an armed standoff in the hallway outside the condo. Earl estimated between eight and 10 shots were fired and one person sustained minor injuries, but police were never called to the scene.
The next day, Earl alleges two 17-year-old members of the Crips were summoned to a home by members of the Young Buck Killers.
What followed there was an ordeal for the teens that Earl said continued over the next 48 hours.
"The two 17-year-old youths were tied to a chair and beaten," he said. "During their beating they were forced to play Russian roulette with a loaded handgun. A shot was fired in the premises."
Earl said police received multiple reports of suspicious activity around the home, but officers failed to find anything when they arrived. As a result of the frequent police presence, however, Earl said the teens were moved to two different locations in the city where the abuse continued.
Earl said the boys were also forced to perform undisclosed sex acts during their captivity.
The teens were released on April 21 after family members agreed to ransom demands made by the alleged abductors. Earl did not say how much money changed hands.
Police searching for two more suspects
A 19-year-old man allegedly involved in the kidnapping was arrested on April 23. Quinton Gardiner is facing numerous charges, including kidnapping for ransom, unauthorized possession of a firearm, and assault with a weapon.
The next day, police arrested three people — 23-year-old Akil White, 18-year-old Deshawn Walters and a 16-year-old boy — who are charged with various firearms-related offences.
Earl said police are still seeking a 23-year-old man and 17-year-old boy on a nationwide warrant. Earl said members of 23-year-old Lincoln Richards' family are also of interest to police.
"My understanding of the allegations is that his family members — his mother, grandmother and sister — may have been present in the house ... when the beatings were taking place," he said.
Police said both suspects are considered armed and dangerous and urge the public not to approach them directly.
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