Ontario Construction News staff writer
Toronto police have identified the man shot to death after an altercation with the driver of an allegedly stolen pickup truck on Friday.
Floreano Lopes, 42, of Toronto died in hospital after being shot by a man who allegedly drove a stolen truck into a paving crew on Steeles Ave. W. near Alness St. just before 1:30 p.m. He died in hospital after he was shot by the driver of a stolen vehicle at a paving site on Steeles Avenue Sept. 3.
Lopes leaves behind his wife Tania and children Emily, Vanessa and Ethan.
A witness told reporters that a black pickup truck was travelling east along Steeles Avenue near Alness Street at around 1:20 p.m. when it struck at least one construction worker before sideswiping a guardrail and slamming into a work truck.
The witness said that a group of construction workers then approached the pickup and attempted to pull the driver out of the vehicle, resulting in an interaction and the driver allegedly fired three shots at one of the construction workers before the others were able to overpower him.
The investigation has now been turned over to homicide detectives. Toronto police are appealing for witnesses or passing motorists with dash cam footage to contact them at 416-808-7400, or anonymously via Crime Stoppers.
Speaking with reporters at the scene late Friday afternoon, Duty Insp. Michael Williams said that investigators believe the suspect was in a stolen vehicle and had attempted to flee the scene after crashing into the white work truck.
“Several citizens intervened and it is at that point that our male victim was shot by the suspect and sadly was pronounce deceased in hospital,” he said. “What we are asking for the public’s assistance with right now is for anyone who may have been in the area, whether it was at a business or if you were travelling on Steeles (Avenue), if you have any CCTV, dash cam video or actually witnessed it we would very much appreciate you contacting 32 Division.”
Williams said that police believe the truck was stolen a short distance from the work site and may have been involved in another collision nearby, though that remains under investigation. Police also confirmed that the truck hit one construction worker as it entered the site and that individual has since been taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Jonathon Kozuch, 37, was charged with second-degree murder, and after a Saturday morning court appearance was remanded into custody.
The Special Investigations Unit has been contacted due to the nature of the interaction between the suspect and police but have not formally invoked their mandate at this time.
“It is still a very active investigation and a very complex and large scene. Members in this community can expect delays for some hours to come,” Williams said.
“You don’t go 80 km/h into a construction site head-on,” she said.
A Gofundme account has been set up for the Lopes family and as of Thursday morning, more than $45,000 had been donated.