The man gunned down in a Saturday bowling alley shooting, which also claimed the life of a bystander, is an alleged member of a gang feuding with a rival group in a conflict that may have put his father in the crossfire four years ago, a 2014 Toronto police document obtained by The Star shows.
Thanh Tien Ngo was shot to death at Playtime Bowl & Entertainment in North York on Saturday night. Three suspects are still on the loose, and two of them were armed when they chased down 32-year-old Ngo, police said.
A woman who was leaving the facility with her husband and sister was also shot outside. Ruma Amar, 29, died of her injuries at Sunnybrook Hospital on Saturday night. Her sister told the Star in an interview that she saw one masked man holding a gun.
Thanh Ngo was pronounced dead at the scene. He was allegedly a member of Chin Pac, a rival gang to the Asian Assassinz, a 2014 police document says.
Toronto Homicide Det. Rob Choe said the gunfire in Saturday’s shooting was intended for Thanh Ngo, and that Amar and he did not know each other.
But Thanh Ngo was known to police. In 2010, he was convicted of two trafficking charges, one count of possession of stolen property over $5,000, and failure to comply with a probation order, Oshawa court staff confirmed to the Star.
His father, Ngoc Ngo, was shot multiple times in an “execution style” killing after he answered the door at his Symington Ave. property, and he was pronounced dead at the scene in March 2014.
The elderly gardener and landscaper was at home with his wife and another relative at the time. Police did not specify who the other relation was.
“This is not a random killing. It is targeted by some perceived injustice by a 64-year-old gardener, or a mistaken identity where the shooter is just plain careless and has no regard for anyone else in that home or in the vicinity,” said then-homicide Det. Sgt. Pauline Gray in a 2014 press conference.
“I am having difficulty coming to a place in my investigation where a 64-year-old man living in his home, in his slippers, is a threat.”
At the time Gray said the bullets were “sprayed everywhere,” and that the alleged killers had no regard for whether there were other people in the home.
Two to six suspects fled the west-end neighbourhood in a dark van.
“Over the past few years, tensions have increased,” between the gangs and their respective allies, the 2014 police document says, citing control over illicit cocaine and heroin distribution networks as playing into those pressures.
“This conflict and continuing battle for control has erupted into running gun battles, stabbings, assaults and homicides,” it says.
The Asian Assassinz were one of two rival gangs (the other was Sic Thugs) subject to police raids known as Project RX and Battery in 2014, which saw more than 50 arrests in southern Ontario and the seizure of guns, cocaine, heroin, marijuana and large amounts of cash. Leading up to the raids, 30 others were arrested and 20 guns were seized during the year-long investigation.
Evidence uncovered in the raids linked the Asian Assassinz to three murders and several attempted murders.
The first was Thuan Nguyen killed in February 2013 outside of a Vietnamese after-hours locale; Vy Vy Restaurant and Lounge in North York. Police said he was shot five times in the parking lot, and pronounced dead at the scene.
Michael Nguyen was gunned down in the parking lot of Yorkdale Shopping Centre, in the second murder, in April 2013. The 23-year-old had alleged gang ties to the Asian Assassinz, the Star reported in 2013.
Two month’s after Michael Nguyen’s shooting, police found 27-year-old Byron Linares dead in his apartment near Yonge St. and Sheppard Ave.
“Shootings have occurred while the investigation has been underway, and I can tell you that at different points in the investigation we had to take action to disrupt future acts of violence,” Insp. Gordon Sneddon told the Star in 2014.