A 79-year-old Toronto man has been charged with murder and attempted murder, police say, after allegedly driving intentionally into three people in North York Wednesday.
In a news release issued Thursday, Toronto police said Ciro Garofano, 79, is facing a charge of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder in connection with the incident in a parking lot off of 250 Cassandra Blvd., west of Victoria Park Avenue and south of Parkwoods Village Drive.
Police say three people were intentionally struck by a vehicle that Garofano was driving. All three were rushed to hospital, where a 61-year-old Toronto woman was pronounced dead. Investigators have not released her identity.
Garofano appeared in court via video link Thursday morning, wearing a white jumpsuit. He only spoke to give his name, and was remanded back into custody. Garofano was also ordered to have no contact with a list of people.
Det.-Sgt. Brandon Price told reporters Wednesday that there is a family relationship between Garofano and the victims, but he didn’t provide specifics.
The victims include an adult woman, an adult man and an elderly woman, he said. Investigators say the two people who survived suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
Residents describe horrific scene
Derek Bailey, a resident of the building, said he witnessed the collision from his balcony. Aerial images of the scene show police cordoned off an area at a parking loop within an apartment complex.
Bailey said he saw a driver in a white vehicle drive toward the bottom of a staircase where a group of people were standing.
All of them were hit and one woman got stuck under the vehicle, he said.
Bailey said he saw the driver take a run at the pedestrians multiple times, heading toward them and backing up, dragging the woman beneath the car the first time.
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According to Bailey, the driver ran over the woman three times. Then he drove around in a circle, came back around and ran over her a fourth time.
“She was mangled,” Bailey said.
“I feel sorry for the family. It was brutal. The way she died was horrible,” he said.
Police handcuff driver
Rudy Wachtel, a resident in the building for the past 11 years, said he was in his apartment when he heard screams and went outside to see what was happening. Emergency crews hadn’t arrived yet, he said.
“Somebody screamed: ‘Help help help!'” said Wachtel, noting he didn’t witness the collision itself.
“I saw this lady on the ground, she didn’t move at all. There was another lady in the corner there,” he added. “The lady who was lying here in the middle, she was totally full of blood, you know, and totally out.”
When the first officer arrived on the scene, a person pointed out the driver and the officer immediately pulled the driver out of the car and put him in handcuffs, Wachtel said.
He said the apartment building is generally very quiet.
“This building here is very, very secure. We never had a problem like this.”