Citing a lack of evidence and no reasonable prospect for convictions, the Crown dropped first-degree murder charges yesterday against two men in connection with a fatal shooting that was captured on a surveillance video and posted online.
The suspects, both 25, were charged in the March 2008 shooting of 18-year-old Abdikarim Ahmed Abdikarim, who was shot to death in the lobby of a west-end Toronto apartment building while hanging out with a group of friends. Five others were injured.
Owen Anthony Smith and Wendell Damian Cuff, who were in custody just under a year, were to be released Thursday.
An alleged gunman was caught on a surveillance camera shooting a firearm several times toward the victim. The video, which in a rare move was posted on YouTube last March by police in the hopes of solving the crime, has been viewed almost 47,000 times.
“The video clearly shows an individual shooting at other individuals, there’s no doubt that it captures a very serious violent act,” defence lawyer Boris Bytensky said outside the court.
“But the identity of that shooter has never been clear from the video. We can all watch that video a thousand times and you’ll not be able to make out any detail from the shooter other than what he’s doing.”
The silent video doesn’t actually show Abdikarim, who was fatally shot in the head, or his five friends who were injured.
Barlin Ali, a family friend of the victim, expressed outrage at the result.
“This is ridiculous, this is shameless, this is shame for the government of Canada,” she said outside court.