By MsKemi Olunloyo
June 21, 2012
TORONTO, Ont.- The media is there to spread information to the public when a murder occurs so that we can help police find the killer. Toronto Police's former Acting Deputy Chief Jeff McGuire said the Eaton Center shooter was "an idiot with a gun" who did not tell the affairs of this city. How many idiots with guns remain in Toronto after the public just learned that the innocent patron hurt at the Sicilian Sidewalk cafe on Monday had nothing to do with the mayhem?
Why has Mayor Rob Ford not paid a visit to Little Italy to comfort residents or even hold a news conference like the one Maria Galipo held outside her ice cream establishment this week? Could that be because the ice cream shop was closed or we should just assume his diet is back on? I could crack jokes all day but something does not add up in the way the city responded to this ice cream shop murder.
Monday June 18th 2012 marked a tragedy of proportions for one Toronto Portuguese family living in the iconic Italian Toronto neighborhood known as Little Italy. The Raposo family no doubt are in mourning due to the sudden loss of their loved one and a father to a young son.
Toronto Police say that John Raposo, also known as Little Johnny was gunned down in an ice cream parlour shortly after 3:30pm in the busy Little Italy section of College and Ossington. The Italy-Ireland Euro Cup soccer game had just ended and people were enjoying their hot afternoon when a gunman approached Raposo firing multiple shots killing him.
People were said to have grabbed their children and babies like footballs, fleeing away fast! The gunman who was wearing construction gear complete with a hard hat, vest and even a mask fled north towards Montrose avenue. Police immediately started tweeting the public for information and witnesses to help them catch the gunman. This is usually done by making appeals directly to the public, giving them the option to remain anonymous through Crime Stoppers.
Crime Stoppers is a partnership between police, public and the media. It is owned by the public and not law enforcement and the goal is to generate tips ultimately apprehending the killer.
What struck me once again is the unnecessary need for the local media to publicize the murdered victim's criminal record which to me simply distracts the public from the investigation. The average member of the public who I asked about this murder could care less because as one woman told me "a bad guy got killed in a hit by another bad guy" so life goes on.
Many Torontonians tell me they are not so much affected by homicides and that these things happen to people who usually live a risky lifestyle anyway. What about the innocent ones caught in the crossfire? As soon as Raposo was gunned down, the local media zeroed in on his criminal background rather than focus on the killer who some witnesses told me was seen running, taking off his hard hat and "blonde wig", a description police gave out to the media and public.
The owners of the Sicilian Sidewalk cafe specifically CEO Maria Galipo read a statement to the media in a brief news conference, sympathizing with the family of the dead, injured all those affected by this tragedy. Another man related to the business stressed on television that many people typically stereotype these shootings as "mob related" because it happened in Little Italy.
Raposo's criminal record was reported by some outlets as "extensive dating back to 1997." After researching his record, many of these alleged crimes were either thrown out or expunged and quite a lot were minor infarctions like several traffic tickets for dangerous driving, one pending this December 2012 on an upcoming court date.
That did not surprise me when a family friend told me one of his nicknames was "Maserati Johnny." A Maserati is a very fast Italian luxury car made by the Fiat company and also associated with the Ferrari company. The guy loved fast sports cars and may have been a frequent speeder. However, there were no murder or attempted murder charges on Raposo's record which had me asking why anyone wanted him dead?
Other charges included some assaults especially one that was pending in court for July 3rd, 2012. Should society care about Raposo's criminal record? NO! Everyone should be concerned about a killer on the loose. Not one time did we hear Toronto Police say that this murder was an "isolated" incident or an "idiot with a gun"was on the loose, so why do we all have to be swept off our feet by his criminal record and his mobster association?
This plants a notion in the minds of Torontonians that he was not a "good guy and may have had shady dealings" which is not always proven. Afterall he had a court date coming in two weeks for an assault charge and you are innocent until proven guilty? The public has clearly been distracted from this murder investigation by these criminal background reports. Unlike Christopher Husbands, the alleged Eaton Centre shooter, are we expecting anyone to turn themselves in on this one? Time will tell.
Torontonians who have any information about the Raposo ice cream parlor murder are urged to call Toronto Police Homicide Squad's Detective Terry Browne at 416-808-7400. Those who want to stay anonymous should use Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or go to 222TIPS.com. This utility is completely anonymous and I suppport it as a starting point for police to begin the investigation somewhere.
The fact that someone is "known to police" should not be a sensational distraction from a serious crime story where the public should be focused on catching a killer. Were you in line at the local fast food place today with that alleged shooter? You never know. Crime Stoppers should remain a partnership between us all. Police, Public and Media.
Raposo was the father of a young son and had another baby on the way. He will be laid to rest in a private funeral Friday June 22nd 2012, 9:00 am at St. Mary's church on Bathurst & Richmond streets in Toronto. In lieu of flowers the family suggests the public send donations to Sick Kids Hospital, a hospital Raposo adored for their exceptional work.
9:30pm 6/21/12 UPDATE: Toronto Police have now made an arrest in the Raposo murder case and plan a press conference shortly. Dean Wiwchar, 26 of British Columbia will be charged with First Degree Murder at 10am Friday, the same time John Raposo will be buried at a Toronto area cemetary. Wiwchar was apprehended in a taxi cab takedown in downtown Toronto. Detective Terry Browne says several agencies are involved in this investigation including York Regional Police and the RCMP. Sources told me this evening that Wiwchar had his bags packed saying goodbye to his mother who worked at a Retirement home in York Region where his grandmother also lived at.
Sadly, Raposo never got to say goodbye to his mother in Little Italy. Toronto Police Homicide Detective Browne said Wiwchar had no criminal record known to them and will not say where he was heading. Browne however said that he had ties to the Toronto area.
I have since learned that a man with the same name and age in British Columbia as the murder suspect has 7 criminal convictions and 3 jail stints over there for assaulting cops and uttering threats to commit bodily harm or death. He was also given a decade long weapons and firearms ban in 2010. Sadly those characters are the ones who break the ban and use a gun again to commit a violent crime. In this case the system FAILED Raposo and his family who are left to grieve in a nightmarish week.
Raposo was alive Monday morning, he watched a super soccer game and relaxed at an ice cream joint, only to be gunned down at 3.30pm, killer caught Thursday, Raposo laid to rest Friday at about the same time the killer gets officially charged for first degree murder! This entire week will change the Raposo family's lives FOREVER!
Stay tuned for more updates and follow me on my Crime Twitter handle @Snitchlady