Two weeks after a fatal shooting in the parking lot behind a Brampton shopping plaza, Global News has learned that the 45-year-old victim was an Uber driver who was on the job when he was gunned down.
In a statement to Global News responding to a request for comment, Uber spokesperson Navideh Forghani wrote, “This senseless act of violence that took the life of Mr. Raiz Ahmed is heartbreaking and our thoughts are with his family.
“We are working with law enforcement on their investigation.”
It was 4:10 a.m. on Nov. 13 when police received a call for a 45-year-old man who was found dead, suffering from gunshot wounds behind a shopping plaza in the area of Brickyard Way and Quarry Edge Drive in Brampton.
On Nov. 15, police issued a news release which said that investigators from the Homicide and Missing Persons Bureau, with the assistance of the Toronto Police Service, identified and charged a 23-year-old man in relation to the Brampton homicide investigation.
The suspect, Carlton Brown, was arrested in the area of Broadview and Browning Avenue in Toronto.
The release also showed a photo of two rifles and some ammunition that police allege they seized during a search warrant of Brown’s residence.
“During a search of his residence, officers located two firearms, one being a loaded .22 caliber rifle, believed to have been involved in this incident,” the statement said.
There was no mention of the victim’s name, nor that he was an Uber driver. There was also no mention that Brown was a rider in the back of Ahmed’s Uber.
Uber says the rider was “deactivated” immediately and says they are working on reaching out to Ahmed’s family. Ahmed had been driving for Uber since 2019.
Peel police media relations spokesperson Akhil Mooken said the victim’s name has not been released because it’s an ongoing investigation and there is no family locally.
Police sources told Global News that the victim had a wife and four children in Pakistan.
RideFairTO, a coalition of organizations trying to ensure that ride-hailing in Toronto operates in the public interest safely for drivers and riders, said it’s very surprised that it took Global News to report that the victim was an Uber driver, for this to come out.
“The fact that this has not been reported on is almost unfathomable to me. The community has a right to know. It’s a very tragic story. Unfortunately, it’s not something that has not happened before,” said Thorben Wieditz.
RideFairTO is going before a committee at the City of Toronto Tuesday to discuss ride sharing issues including safety and training.
“Ride sharing drivers are in a very precarious situation. They often hesitate to refuse trips out of fear of retaliation, out of fear of bad reviews, out of fear that their service rating suffers, or even deactivation,” said Wieditz.
Just three weeks before Ahmed’s murder, 73-year-old Christopher Jung of Toronto lost control of his Beck taxi, colliding with a fence on Warden Avenue south of Eglinton.
Jung had been shot multiple times.
A Canada-wide warrant has been issued for a 17-year-old boy whose identify is covered by the Youth Criminal Justice Act. He’s wanted for second-degree murder.
Jung’s daughter Vanessa is still overwhelmed by the murder of her dad and is shocked to hear that another driver has been fatally shot just three weeks after her dad.
“I’m in shock. I’m in disbelief that it happened at all, and that it happened so soon after my father was murdered,” said Jung.
Jung wondered what could be done to safeguard taxi and rideshare drivers.
“With Beck there was a camera at least to help police. How can drivers be safe on the road? I don’t have the answers,” Jung said, noting that once again a gun was used.
“I’m very sad for the family and for the kids to lose their dad at such a young age, it’s heartbreaking,” said Jung choking back tears.
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