Canadian police say dead suspect was looking to kill a cop

TORONTO – The man behind a series of fatal shootings in the Greater Toronto Area this week was likely seeking to target a police officer, Canadian police said Thursday, as they asked for the public’s help in find out more about the shooter who killed a traffic cop and another person.

Toronto Police Const. Andrew Hong was killed Monday while at a cafe in Mississauga, Ont., before the same suspect killed an auto shop owner in Milton, Ont., later that day. Another man injured in the Milton shooting is not expected to survive, police said.

The shooter, identified Thursday as 40-year-old Sean Petrie, died shortly after the shooting during a clash with police in Hamilton.

Petrie was at the Tim Hortons where Hong was killed for just over two hours before the shooting, police said.

Region of Peel Det. Michael Mavity said he believed Hong was being targeted.

“I believe he was looking for a police officer,” Mavity said.

Peel Region Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah added that investigators believe Petrie was “just waiting for someone in uniform”.

Duraiappah said Petrie had a “full” criminal record – with convictions for weapons offences, armed robbery and assault, among others – and in 2007 he was placed on a national reporting system in as a person at high risk of recurrence.

Petrie’s last conviction was in 2015 for a criminal driving offence, police said, adding they didn’t know much about Petrie’s life in the lead up to the shooting.

“We spoke to three immediate family members and … all communicated that they had an estranged relationship with Sean, ranging from not being in touch for a year to not having spoken to them in five years,” said Duraiappah. “Hence this void of understanding who he was connected to.”

Duraiappah said police are now asking members of the public to help them gather information about Petrie, particularly his activity and lifestyle before the shooting.

Monday’s shooting began in Mississauga, where Petrie parked his car near the Tim Hortons where Hong was killed. Police said they believe Petrie lived in that car, a red Toyota Corolla.

Petrie waited at the Tim Hortons for two hours and 15 minutes before shooting Hong at close range in what police called an ambush. Petrie then moved to Milton, where he fatally shot 38-year-old Shakeel Ashraf in an auto shop.

Police say Petrie worked for a short time at the auto shop, but don’t know if he was employed at the time of the shooting.

Petrie shot three people – Ashraf and two others – at the auto shop. Halton Region Police Chief Steve Tanner said on Thursday that a 28-year-old international exchange student working part-time at the auto shop is on life support and ‘is not expected to survive “.

“We are not releasing his name at this time out of respect for his family, but we plan to do so at a future date and time,” Tanner said.

A 34-year-old man was also shot in the leg while working at the same auto shop and is recovering at home after being released from hospital, Tanner said.

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