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Graphic video released in murder of Drake's pal

Toronto Sun crime reporter Chris Doucette. (Sun files)

By Chris Doucette, Toronto Sun

TORONTO - 

Anthony Soares was standing inside the front doors of a Scarborough highrise waiting to be buzzed in when two gunmen suddenly ambushed him, opening fire from close range and emptying their magazines.

The horrific Sept. 14 murder of rapper Drake’s longtime friend at 6 Glamorgan Ave., a Toronto Community Housing complex — near Kennedy Rd. and Progress Ave. — was captured on video by building security cameras.

In an effort to identify the killers, Toronto Police have now released the startling footage.

“In essence, the deceased was trapped between the inner foyer area and the offenders, who were on the opposite side of the glass,” Det.-Sgt. Gary Giroux said Tuesday.

Moments earlier around 3 a.m., a friend dropped Soares off at the building and the killers drove by the friend’s car, Giroux said, explaining the friend took off as the gunfire erupted but he later returned and has since been cooperative.

In the video, two men wearing hoodies and masks dash from a car toward the lobby with semi-automatic handguns already drawn.

Without hesitation, the killers start blasting the unsuspecting Soares — an easy target as he stood between the two sets of doors, holding an order of fast food in one hand and a soft drink in the other.

The killers let loose upwards of two dozen rounds and didn’t stop firing even after the 33-year-old hit the ground.

At one point, a gunman opened the door to shoot some more, but, instead, wiped away his fingerprints with his sleeve before fleeing.

“It certainly was very focused, certainly overkill (and) Mr. Soares was clearly the target of the attack,” Giroux said. “The video shows both of the weapons locked in the open position, which indicates that the weapons are now empty.”

The gunmen hopped back into the car they arrived in — a four-door, a white Ford Fusion with tinted windows — and headed north on Kennedy Rd. towards Hwy. 401.

Giroux said the rare decision to release such graphic video was made because he is hoping people will recognize the killers and come forward to help identify the pair.

Soares, who was known to police, leaves behind a girlfriend and their young daughter.

In the wake of the murder, Toronto rapper Drake took to social media to express his condolences over the shooting of Soares, who he describes as a “friend.”

“Drake was a friend of his,” Giroux added, explaining the victim’s family confirmed he was close to the hip-hop artist.

“I certainly would encourage him, through his tweets, to encourage anybody within the community to come forward with regards to any information that they have that may assist in solving his friend’s murder,” the veteran detective said.

Crime Stoppers made a similar appeal after two people were shot to death during Drake’s OVO Fest after-party in the summer of 2015, but the rapper never did urge witnesses to come forward.

RECENT AMBUSH KILLINGS

There have been numerous deadly ambushes in public spaces in Toronto recently, some of which homicide investigators have described as “overkill.”

  • July 31: A gunman wearing a hoodie pulled snug around his face enters the Libertarian Public House on Queen St. E., at Sherbourne St., walks through the Moss Park bar to the back patio, and opens fire on a group sitting at a table, killing one man, 32, and wounding four others.
  • Aug. 31: Jovane Clarke, 22, was ambushed outside Sheridan Mall at Jane St. and Wilson Ave. by two gunmen, one of whom chased him inside and shot him to death as shoppers took cover.
  • Sept. 2: Awad Hurre, 34, was fatally ambushed by two gunmen inside the lobby of a Rexdale highrise on Tandridge Cr., near Albion Rd. and Islington Ave.
  • Sept. 14: Anthony Soares, 33, was trapped inside the lobby doors of a highrise at Kennedy Rd. and Glamorgan Ave., in Scarborough, just north of Ellesmere Rd.
  • Sept. 16: Simon Giannini, 54, was gunned down inside a crowded Michael’s On Simcoe restaurant on Simcoe St., just south of Adelaide St. W., in the Entertainment District.  

TROUBLE AROUND DRAKE

In recent years, Toronto-born rapper Drake — who was presented with a key to the city in February 2016 — has held a party where people were shot to death, toured with an artist facing serious criminal charges, his label OVO Sound has signed a convict and now he has lost a close friend to gun violence:

•Aug. 4, 2015: Gunfire erupts on the back patio of Muzik, a nightclub at Exhibition Place, during Drake’s OVO Fest after-party. The shooting claimed the lives of Duvel Hibbert, 23, and innocent bystander Ariela Navarro-Fenoy, 26, who was killed a stray bullet. No arrests have been made.

•April 19, 2016: Quinton Gardiner, 19 at the time, was among several people rounded up following a gun battle inside a Front St. condo that subsequently led to the kidnapping for ransom and torture of two 17-year-old boys. The alleged member of the Young Buck Killas, a Jane-Finch gang, raps under the stage name Pressa.

While out on bail for serious offences, he was allowed to travel to Europe earlier this year to open for Drake on his Boy Meets World tour. One of Gardiner’s co-accused, Akil Whyte, 24, was named by cops on Monday as a suspect wanted for the April 21 murder of Leonard Pinnock, 33.

•June 28, 2017: Drake’s record label OVO Sound signed Travis Savoury, aka Baka and Not Nice, a longtime member of his entourage who has a lengthy criminal record dating more than a decade. Most recently, Savoury pleaded guilty to assaulting a 22-year-old woman and was sentenced to six months in prison in 2015.

•Sept. 14: Drake’s longtime friend Anthony Soares, 33, who was among Drizzy’s crew on hand when he opened his OVO store at Yorkdale Mall last month, was gunned down in a hail of bullets at a Scarborough highrise.

cdoucette@postmedia.com