Police believe homicide victim chosen at random by those ‘hunting’ for a target

TORONTO — Investigators are searching for two suspects who they believe went “hunting” for someone to shoot in Toronto, killing a 22-year-old student apparently at random.

University student Jeremy Urbina was taking out the trash when he was shot numerous times in the back last Wednesday, Dec. 11, in an attack Det.-Sgt. Terry Browne said was unlike anything he’d seen.

“I’ve been in the homicide squad 16 years now, and I’ve seen probably everything that human beings can do to each other,” Browne said. “But I’ve never seen someone actually appear to look around, to actually hunt down another human being — and I will use that term because that’s exactly how it presents.”

Browne said surveillance video shows two suspects “skulking” around a residential complex for six minutes, at one point going into a laundromat shared by the residents, before coming upon Urbina near a dumpster outside.

“He was, on that fateful night, unfortunately, doing what all of us do regularly: just taking garbage out,” Browne said.

One of the suspects immediately opened fire on the young man’s back, Browne said, riddling him with bullets that numbered in the “double digits.”

“This was nothing short of being callous, cowardly and evil incarnate,” Browne said, noting that there’s no way Urbina could have seen the shooter coming.

Further, he said, it was a cold evening at about 8 p.m., and Urbina was dressed in such a way that it would have been impossible to identify him from behind.

Urbina, Browne said, was a second-year student at the Ontario College of Art and Design University, studying media. He lived with his parents in the north-Toronto complex where he was killed.

Browne said investigators haven’t found any reason Urbina would be targeted.

It’s possible, he said, that the suspects went to the area looking for someone in particular to kill but settled on Urbina after failing to find that person. Alternately, he said, they may have gone out with the intention of shooting the first person they saw.

Browne released images of the suspects captured on the surveillance video. They include a picture of one of the two with his face partially covered, but their eyes and nose visible.

Browne is urging anyone who recognizes the person to come forward.

“This was a ridiculous, violent, evil act,” he said. “We as a community, everyone has to do their part to identify these individuals and get them off the street.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 19, 2019.

Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press

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