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​Sammy Yatim’s Best Friend Shot to Death by Toronto Police: Mother

The 21-year-old was killed after police responded to a report of two people fighting. Sammy Yatim was shot to death by police in 2013.

by Jake Kivanc
Mar 14 2016, 3:17pm

The mother of the victim of a police shooting in Toronto Monday morning says he was Sammy Yatim's best friend from high school.

The 21-year-old, who was identified to VICE as Alex Wettlaufer by a member of his family, was shot and killed in Villaway Park after Toronto Police responded to a call of two people fighting Sunday night at 11:30 PM.

The Special Investigative Unit (SIU), the division tasked with investigating police shootings, has declined to talk. The organization has a mandate to lockdown communications between police and the public while investigations are ongoing.

"There was a confrontation involving Toronto police officers and a police firearm was discharged," the SIU said in a release. The report alleges that when police arrived, two men were seen fighting, and one of them fled into Villaway Park.

It's unclear what time police arrived at the park, but an altercation occurred in which Wettlaufer was shot twice—first in the chest and then in the abdomen—before he was rushed to a nearby hospital. He was pronounced dead at roughly 12:30 AM.

Although police have not released the man's name, VICE confirmed the identity of the man who was shot by speaking to his mother, who wishes to remain anonymous.

"He was on the phone with me and he was crying," she told VICE, saying that Wettlaufer had called her to tell her that two men had jumped him and the police had shown up with weapons drawn. Wettlaufer says the police have not told her what happened yet.

"[The police] are not telling me nothing. They know I don't trust them."

Wettlaufer's mother alleges that the report the police originally responded to did not involve her son and that he was not armed. She says that Wettlaufer was told by the police to drop the phone, which he did. Almost immediately after, she heard the gunshots.

The SIU declined to comment to VICE on the mother's claims.

She told VICE that Wettlaufer, who was "half-black," was "never involved in street life" and generally "kept to himself at home," but that she believes he may have been seen as a threat because of his race.

"He was my baby. I know this will turn out like [Sammy Yatim]," the mother told VICE, making note that Alex was a good friend of police shooting victim Sammy Yatim, who was killed on a Toronto streetcar back in 2013.

Const. James Forcillo, the officer who killed Yatim, was found not guilty of murder in January, but was instead found guilty of attempted murder.

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