TORONTO — A man convicted of two counts of second-degree murder in a shootout at a 2012 community barbecue in Toronto was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison with no chance of parole for seven years.
Folorunso Owusu, who was 17 years old when he fired a gun sparking pandemonium on Danzig Street, was sentenced as an adult.
Two people — 23-year-old Joshua Yasay and 14-year-old Shyanne Charles — died in the shootout, which Toronto police called an “unprecedented” episode of violence that injured more than 20 others, including a 22-month-old child.
Yasay’s family expressed relief after hearing that the person responsible for the “exceptional” young man’s death had been sentenced as an adult.
His sister Jennilyn Yasay said that while they will suffer from the loss forever, she hopes her family can finally get some closure.
“It’s our time for our family to heal,” she said.
Afifa Charles, Shyanne’s mother, said she hasn’t slept properly since her daughter’s death.
“To see your daughter laying on the ground dead and there’s nothing you can do is the worst pain a mother, a father can ever feel,” she said tearfully outside court.
Justice Ian Nordheimer said Owusu has not accepted responsibility for his actions.
Owusu maintained throughout the trial that he didn’t fire his gun, starting a wild shootout in a crowd of 200 people that included small children.
Court heard Owusu came to the party armed with a handgun knowing members of a rival gang would be there.
When he arrived at the party in Toronto’s east end, Owusu came across a man with the street name of “Gifted,” who was checking attendees to see if they were welcome, Nordheimer said as he delivered his sentencing decision.
The man flashed a handgun and told Owusu to leave, court heard, before an older man told Gifted to put the gun away.
Owusu, the judge said, then took out his gun and fired his gun at Gifted, who was struck twice. The man, as he fell to the ground, fired at least 11 shots, one of which struck Owusu.
Court heard that another man then took out a submachine gun and opened fire. It was bullets from Gifted’s gun and the man with the submachine gun that killed Charles and Yasay.
The judge said Owusu’s lawyer argued his client’s actions were impulsive and spontaneous when he brought a loaded handgun to a street party where he knew there may be rival gang members.
“There is nothing impulsive about (Owusu’s) actions,” Nordheimer said, calling it the “antithesis of spontaneity.”
Nordheimer also noted an evaluation considered Owusu at medium risk to re-offend.
Two other men pleaded guilty to various charges in the shooting and are serving prison sentences.