‘Very good looking’ suspect sought in fatal drive-by shooting in downtown Toronto

Police have released a composite sketch of a “very good looking” suspect wanted in connection to an afternoon drive-by shooting death of 28-year-old Joel Alexander in downtown Toronto last December.

Alexander, who was a father of a five-year-old child, was fatally shot on Dec. 11 around 4:15 p.m. in a parking lot near King Street West and Peter Street in what police say was a targeted shooting.

Police say the deceased had just pulled into the parking lot when another vehicle drove up beside him and starting firing from the passenger side seat.

Joel Alexander, 28, was killed in a ‘targeted’ shooting in downtown Toronto on Dec. 11, 2015.

Toronto police

“The suspect vehicle proceeded north on Peter from King Street, did a U-turn and stopped where Mr. Alexander was seated and opened up shooting,” said Det. Sgt. Terry Browne during a press conference Thursday morning.

Alexander, who was with a female passenger, was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Investigators have also released an image of the suspect vehicle they believe was involved in the shooting.

It is described as a 2006 Lexus, either a 250 or 350 model, and was captured on video a number of times in various locations that day.

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“We now believe that this vehicle actually followed Mr. Alexander for a period of time before he was eventually gunned down,” said Terry.

Browne says the suspect is described as a male black, with light brown skin and 30 years of age.

“He is being described as being a very good looking, or model-like gentleman. He was well-dressed at the time of the shooting,” he said.

Browne say Alexander had no known ties to gangs but was involved in a lifestyle that “put him in a higher risk for an incident such as this.”

Police are urging anyone who may recognize the suspect or the vehicle involved to come forward.

VIDEO: Toronto Police provide some information about the shooting in the Entertainment District

Lumby looking for help to prevent floods

LUMBY – Each spring the potential for flooding has Lumby residents on edge.

Now the Village of Lumby is hoping the regional district can take action to prevent those floods.

However, that may mean weighing flood protection against the need to store enough water to last Vernon-area water customers through the summer.

On Wednesday, water was flowing out of the reservoirs on the Aberdeen Plateau which have reached capacity.

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Water pouring out of the reservoirs is used by Vernon-area residents but the flow can also continue on down Duteau Creek to Lumby, where flooding is an annual worry for the village.

In 2013 Duteau Creeks was one of two Lumby waterways that breached their banks.

Read More: Lumby hit hard by flooding

“We had some businesses that were very close to being flooded out,” recalled Lumby Mayor Kevin Acton.

That’s why the village has sent a letter to the Regional District of North Okanagan asking for help. It wants water released from the reservoirs earlier in the year, as a form of flood prevention.

“What we are looking for is sort of an educated guess where they can say, ‘OK, we’ve got this much snow pack, we know the reservoirs can take this much water, so let’s let some of the water off while it is still cool and we are not getting the flash floods with the rain and everything else,’” said Acton.

“[That way] there is room in the reservoirs to compensate for any major quick melt or big rain.”

Read More: Lumby prepares for flooding

However, the regional district says it needs to ensure the reservoirs are as full as possible so there’s enough water for the greater Vernon area to last through the summer.

“This option would be of questionable benefit to Lumby and would increase the risk of water shortages for [Greater Vernon Water],” wrote Greater Vernon Water manager Zee Marcolin, in a 2013 report to the regional district board.

“Costs would range from $20,000 to $50,000 for each year that water restrictions are required, depending on resources needed and severity of the drought.”

However, Lumby’s mayor said they don’t want to impact Vernon water users.

“We don’t want to create a drought for the Vernon residents, that is not what we are looking for. We are looking to have a better understanding of what the snowpack is and how much they can retain before it becomes an issue for flooding,” said Acton.

The regional district board was expected to address the issue at their meeting Wednesday evening.

CrossFit is whipping 56-year-old man into the best shape of his life

In order to get into the best shape of his life, 56-year-old Blake Parker had to scare himself half to death.

Parker suffered a massive heart attack on Feb. 2, 2012. It’s a day that changed his life forever.

“I knew it was coming at some point. He was a smoker, he didn’t eat properly, he wasn’t exercising,” said Blake’s son Aaron, in Saskatoon.

“He was a ticking time bomb, so it didn’t surprise me, but it was very scary.”

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    After his heart attack, Blake realized he had to whip himself into shape. But when his son Aaron urged him to try CrossFit, Blake was hesitant.

    “I was pretty nervous. I just had a heart attack so I was in really poor shape,” said Blake. “I knew I had to do something but I just thought maybe [CrossFit] is a little extreme for what I need.”

    But Blake decided to give CrossFit a try, and he got hooked after his first workout. Now he’s in the gym five days a week.

    “He’s ripped how!” says his son Aaron. “He’s carved out of granite, so he looks good for 56 years old for sure.”

    Aaron supported his father throughout his fitness journey, but this weekend it will be Blake’s turn to cheer on his son. Aaron is one of the 20 athletes in western Canada to earn a spot in the CrossFit Games West Regional qualifier.

    “It’s amazing because I know how hard it is,” says Blake. “I do a lot of the same as he does, of course not the same weight by any means and he does it twice as fast … I’m very proud of what he’s doing.”

    The qualifier kicks off on Friday in Portland, Ore.

Vancouver building named after man behind Komagata Maru decision

In some ways, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s apology today in the House of Commons for the Komagata Maru incident closed a chapter on one of British Columbia’s most abhorrent acts of racism.

But history is never that clear cut.

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For the last 53 years, a federal building in the heart of Vancouver has been named for the local politician most responsible for the decision to bar 350 people – most of them Sikhs from India – from entering Canada.

The Harry Stevens Building sits at Quebec Street and East 10th Avenue, a non-descript structure built in 1963, now home to Service Canada.

“One of Canada’s outstanding public servants, the honourable Henry Herbert Stevens was a Member of Parliament for thirty years and served with distinction in various cabinet portfolios,” the plaque in the building’s lobby reads.

Stevens was an MP from 1911 to 1940, a cabinet minister in the Conservative Party governments of Arthur Meighen and R. B. Bennett, and was Chairman of the Vancouver Board of Trade in his post-political career.

In 1914 he was just a backbench MP for the riding of Vancouver City – but historical accounts say Stevens was a key figure in the decision to bar the Komagata Maru from docking, directly working with the immigration office to prevent a positive resolution for the refugees.

“As the immigration staff in Vancouver could see, Stevens was the man making the decisions,” wrote Hugh J. M. Johnston in The Voyage of the Komagata Maru: The Sikh Challenge to Canada’s Colour Bar.

READ MORE: What was the Komagata Maru incident and why does it matter?

“Asian immigration was his leading issue. When he spoke for the first time in Parliament, he directed his time to the Asian threat to Canada’s future as ‘a white man’s country.’”

Most infamously, Stevens said “we cannot hope to preserve the national type if we allow Asiatics to enter Canada in any numbers” in 1914 – the same year as the Komagata Maru incident.

Stevens is just one of two politicians from Vancouver to have a federal building named after them. The other is James Sinclair, former Minister of Fisheries – and Justin Trudeau’s grandfather.

Raj Toor, whose grandfather was on the Komagata Maru, said he would mention the situation to Trudeau.

In 2014, school board trustees in New Westminster decided to reverse a decision to name a new middle school after former premier John Robson because of his anti-Chinese views.

Stripping the name from a federal building would be without precedent in B.C., but Premier Christy Clark said if the local Indo-Canadian community wants that dialogue, it should be considered.

“I think it’s painful for a lot of people who are descendants of those who were turned away to see that. At the same time, as I said, we need to remember the good and the bad.”

Improved weather condition bolsters climbing treks on Mount Everest

KATHMANDU, Nepal – More than 150 climbers scaled Mount Everest as better weather conditions Thursday led to a crowded day atop the world’s highest peak, a Nepal official at the base camp said.

A team of soldiers from United Arab Emirates and other teams from the Indian army were among the climbers on the summit, Department of Mountaineering official Gyanendra Shrestha said. He said it was hard to say exactly the number of people who have reached the summit or their nationalities but it was a busy day on the summit.

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Many of them were returning safely to lower camps, and the weather was still favourable near the summit.

READ MORE: Climbers nearing Everest summit after 2 years of disasters

Climbers have been reaching the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) summit almost daily since May 11, but high winds had forced a break Tuesday and Wednesday before climbing resumed Thursday.

It is not unusual for big numbers of climbers to reach the summit on a single day because only two or three windows of good weather in May enable climbing on the peak often hit with extremely harsh weather conditions.

This season has been a good for climbers on Everest after two years of disasters.

An avalanche triggered by a powerful earthquake killed 19 climbers and injured 61 others at base camp last year. In 2014, 16 Sherpa guides were killed by an avalanche above the base camp.

READ MORE: Cracking down on graffiti… on Mount Everest

Last year’s climbing season was scrubbed, and nearly all of the climbers in 2014 abandoned their attempts after the avalanche. The only team who reached the summit that year from the Nepal side was a Chinese woman and her five Sherpa guides.

It was feared that the disasters would drive away climbers, but hundreds of climbers and thousands of foreign trekkers returned this spring to Nepal, which has eight of the highest mountains in the world.

Egyptair Flight MS804: Terrorism likely cause of downed jet, officials say

LATEST UPDATES

Terrorism likely caused crash: Russia and EgyptEgyptAir confirms wreckage found is that of Flight MS804One Canadian among the 66 on boardTimeline events before the aircraft crashed

Egyptair Flight MS804 headed to Cairo from Paris with 66 passengers and crew on board, including a Canadian, crashed in the Mediterranean Sea off the Greek island of Crete early Thursday morning and Russian and Egyptian officials say the likely cause of the crash is terrorism.

The head of Russia’s top domestic security agency, Alexander Bortnikov, said that “in all likelihood it was a terror attack” that caused the crash of the EgyptAir flight,  according to reports from Russian news agencies.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s aviation minister said the possibility of a terror attack as the cause of the EgyptAir crash is “stronger” than technical failure. Minister Sherif Fathi said that he doesn’t want draw conclusions but that analysis points to terrorism as a cause with a higher probability.

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Hardline Islamists have targeted airports, airliners and tourist sites in Europe, Egypt, Tunisia and other Middle Eastern countries over the past few years.

The flight departed from Charles de Gaulle Airport late Wednesday night with 56 passengers — including one Canadian — and 10 crew members on board. The airline initially said 69 people were on board.

Speaking from Paris, French President Francois Hollande confirmed the plane had crashed saying no hypothesis is ruled out.

“When we have the truth we need to draw all the conclusions,” Hollande said. “At this stage, we must give priority to solidarity toward the families” of the victims.

The company said the Airbus A320 was travelling at an altitude of 37,000 feet and disappeared 10 minutes after entering Egyptian airspace, around 280 kilometres off the country’s coastline north of the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria.

Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos said the plane made abrupt turns and suddenly lost altitude before disappearing from radar.

Kammenos said the aircraft was 16 to 25 to kilometres inside Egyptian airspace.

“It turned 90 degrees left and then a 360-degree turn toward the right, dropping from 38,000 to 15,000 feet and then it was lost at about 10,000 feet,” he said.

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The flight disappeared from radar at 2:45 a.m. Cairo time, or 8:45 p.m. ET.

Egypt’s Civil Aviation ministry said in a statement that “floating material,” including life jackets and plastic items have been found in the sea off the Greek island of Karpathos, close to the suspected site of the EgyptAir plane crash.

The ministry says that it is co-ordinating with Greek counterparts to examine what they have found and to determine whether the items could be part of the debris from the plane that crashed before dawn on Thursday.

The 56 passengers include one Canadian, 30 Egyptians, 15 French citizens, one Briton, two Iraqis, one Kuwaiti, one Saudi, one Sudanese, one Chadian, one Portuguese and one Algerian. The airline said a child and two babies were among the passengers.

WATCH: Relatives of missing EgyptAir passengers desperate for answers

Global Affairs Canada said it was “aware of the possibility that a Canadian may have been on board the flight” and that the department was “monitoring the situation closely.” The statement added that Canadian officials in Cairo and Paris are working with local authorities to confirm this information.

An EgyptAir plane was hijacked and diverted to Cyprus in March. A man who admitted to the hijacking and is described by Cypriot authorities as “psychologically unstable” is in custody in Cyprus.

The incident renewed security concerns months after a Russian passenger plane was blown out of the sky over the Sinai Peninsula. The Russian plane crashed in Sinai on Oct. 31, killing all 224 people on board. Moscow said it was brought down by an explosive device, and a local branch of the extremist Islamic State group has claimed responsibility.

In 1999, EgyptAir Flight 1990 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near the Massachusetts island of Nantucket, killing all 217 people aboard. U.S. investigators filed a final report that concluded its co-pilot switched off the autopilot and pointed the Boeing 767 downward. But Egyptian officials rejected the notion of suicide, insisting some mechanical reason caused the crash.

Rebels are not for sale; Brent Sutter forced to ‘squash’ rumours ahead of Memorial Cup

On the verge of hosting the 2016 Memorial Cup, one of the biggest weeks in franchise history, Red Deer Rebels owner/president/general manager/head coach Brent Sutter caught wind of some unsettling rumours around town.

“Dean Williams (Rebels VP of marketing and sales) was in the grocery store… he was just in there for a short period of time and he said he had three people come up wanting to know if (I) had sold the team,” Sutter said.

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Sutter said he’s heard the rumours before, but never as bad as the last four to six weeks. This time they’ve taken on a life of their own.

“Final straw for me was actually some of the (Memorial Cup) committee members were coming up and saying, ‘Geez Brent, you know, in the business sector people are wanting to know have you sold the team? Are you selling it? Or has it been sold?’” said Sutter, who has owned the Rebels since 1999.

“That bothered me because there’s no truth to that whatsoever.”

Sutter still isn’t sure where these most recent rumours came from, but wanted to make sure he “squashed” them as quickly as possible.

“It was somewhat disappointing to hear people talking like that out there,” he said. “It’s all rumours, it’s all false.”

WATCH BELOW: Sutter family a guiding force behind 2016 Memorial Cup in Red Deer.

Sutter admits he has had people inquire about purchasing the team, but has he approached anyone else?

“Never once have I said, ‘Hey, the Rebels are out there for sale.’ It’s not the case,” Sutter said.  “I’ve had people approach me, ask me if I was interested in selling and I simply said no.”

The Rebels have been a fixture in central Alberta since Sutter purchased the team in 1999. Since then they’ve invested a lot of time and money into the team and the building they play in, the Enmax Centrium at Westerner Park.

“We’ve built this program, this organization, to where it is. I’ve put a lot back into this community, I’ve put a lot back into this facility to make sure it’s a top-notch facility for our fans that come here and our sponsors,” Sutter said.

In the meantime, Sutter and company are focused on trying to win the second Memorial Cup title in franchise history. The last one came in 2001 in Regina.

The Rebels open the tournament Friday night against the Ontario Hockey League champion London Knights.