Toronto police arrest suspect in homophobic attack on Hanlan’s Point

The Hate Crime Unit remains involved in the ongoing investigation


Toronto Police have arrested a suspect in connection with a violent homophobic attack on Hanlan’s Point two weeks ago.

On Saturday, police arrested 24-year-old Elijah McGibbon in Toronto and charged him with aggravated assault. McGibbon is due to appear in court on July 26.

“I want to make it clear that while we have successfully charged someone for their alleged involvement in this assault, our investigation does not stop here,” said 52 division detective constable Lauren Hassard in a statement. “This is a complex case and we still encourage witnesses to come forward.”

Police are continuing to investigate the incident, which they said took place around 11:30 pm near the Hanlan’s Point ferry docks on the Toronto Island on June 5.

Hassard added officers are looking to speak with two women they believe were in the area at the time. They are described as white, in their 20s and with brown hair.

Investigators said a 24-year-old man and 27-year-old woman were walking to the ferry docks when they were involved in a disagreement with a group of people. A man from the latter group made homophobic comments and two men from the group punched and kicked the 24-year-old, police said.

Police also released suspect descriptions and said the Hate Crime Unit had been notified.

On June 6, 24-year-old David Gomez posted on social media that he was called homophobic slurs, followed around and “knocked unconscious and beat nearly to death.” He said he has a broken nose, shattered face, multiple lacerations, a broken tooth and a slight fracture on his right hip.

A GoFundMe campaign for Gomez has raised nearly $49,000 so far.

Toronto Police media relations officer Edward Parks told NOW the hate crime unit is continuing to support 52 division in the investigation.

Until today’s arrest, police had not identified any suspects but users on social media linked Ottawa Redblacks player Chris Larsen to the attack. The team subsequently suspended the defensive lineman and began an investigation. The CFL also issued a statement.

NOW has reached out to the Ottawa Redblacks for comment.

Earlier this week, Larsen and his lawyer, Calvin Berry, told news outlets that police no longer consider the player a suspect. Larsen also denied uttering homophobic remarks in an interview with CTV News.

“Heading off the Island to go home, got into an incident and happened to be a bystander there. Something happened. That’s all I can really say,” Larsen told CTV.

Parks would not comment on whether or not police consider Larsen a suspect in the ongoing investigation.

“This is an active investigation. We would not speculate on alleged or involved individuals until charges are laid,” he said. “I can’t tell you if Chris Larsen is still a suspect or not.”

Though the case has made headlines across the country, police issued a news release on June 14 saying they had not received many tips and urged anyone heading to the Hanlan’s ferry docks between 10 pm and midnight on June 5 to contact them.

Since then, police have been receiving tips, Parks said.

“We’ve been receiving tips. We’ve also been reviewing social media posts and we’ve been gathering information from that,” he added.

@nowtoronto

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