Police at the scene of an apparent accident between a taxi and what was reported to be a young man on a skateboard on King St, near Jarvis in downtown Toronto on Monday May 14, 2012.
Credits: Ernest Doroszuk /TORONTO SUN/QMI AGENCY.
TORONTO - Ralph Bissonnette loved to ride around the city on his longboard.
But as he skated along a Toronto street Monday night, the 28-year-old had a deadly run-in with a cab -- an incident Toronto Police have alleged was caused by road rage.
"The information we have at this point is that the taxi driver allegedly intentionally hit the skateboarder with his car," Const. Tony Vella said Tuesday.
He said there was an altercation around 6 p.m.
It's believed words were exchanged before the skateboard enthusiast was hit.
Bissonnette suffered severe head injuries and died in hospital, becoming the city's 19th homicide victim of the year.
A taxi driver was arrested at the scene and charged with second-degree murder.
People have been leaving flowers and candles on the sidewalk near where Bissonnette was killed.
"I feel sad, I feel a little angry, too," friend Johnny Paredes said at the make-shift memorial. "I wish he was here one more time."
He also worked with Bissonette, a sous-chef at Aria Ristorante.
"The streets are so bad here, so crowded," he said.
Kimberlee White didn't know Bissonnette, but walking by the make-shift memorial reminded her of someone she cared about who was killed on Toronto's streets.
She said Bissonnette's death shows how dangerous it has become for people who use "alternate forms of transportation" such as skateboards, bicycles, roller-blades and electric scooters.
"It's just too much and people are getting hit all the time," White said. "It's not safe."
Bissonnette, originally from Quebec, lived in the city with his common-law wife, who was too distraught to talk about her loss.
Other co-workers at his former place of employment, a different downtown restaurant, were also grieving.
"Some of our staff called in sick today," said Andrew Gardner, general manager of the Rosewater Supper Club.
He didn't know Bissonnette personally but said he worked at the restaurant as a saucier for about two years and left last fall.
Adib Ibrahim, 43, is charged. He remains in custody and will appear in court via video on May 22.
Outside court, fellow cabbie Elias Abrahim said Ibrahim is a good, hard working man, who is originally from Ethiopia and is married with two kids.
Homicide Det.-Sgt. Terry Browne said investigators have interviewed some "independent witnesses" and seized surveillance video from the area.
Investigators are trying to piece together what led up to the deadly encounter and he appealed to other witnesses to come forward, especially anyone who saw Bissonnette riding along the street prior to his death.