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Woman who escaped Toronto mall shooting dies in Colorado theater shootings

Published Jul. 22, 2012

A Denver woman who narrowly missed being caught in a deadly shooting in a Toronto shopping mall was one of the victims of the carnage at a Denver-area movie theater.

Jessica Ghawi, 22, was among 12 people killed when a gunman opened fire in a packed theater during the Thursday night screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colo.

Ghawi, who tweeted under the name Jessica Redfield, said in a blog that she was "blessed" to have left the area moments before the June 2 incident at the Eaton Center while visiting Toronto.

Two gang members were killed and seven people injured in the incident. That was only the start of a summer of violence.

In the worst mass shooting in Toronto's history, two people attending a neighborhood barbecue were killed and 23 wounded in an exchange of gang-related gunfire.

The attack in the east-end Scarborough community last Monday night was followed by random gun killings in each of the next two days across the city.

Police, municipal, provincial and federal politicians as well as members of the city's "African-Canadian" community plan to meet in the coming week to discuss what more needs to be done.

Bomb hoax closes border crossing

For the second time in a week, a prank bomb threat has closed one of Canada's busiest border crossings with the United States.

Someone called Detroit police Monday night to report a bomb was about to go off on the Ambassador Bridge linking Ontario and Michigan.

Along with thousands of cars, the bridge handles about 30,000 trucks a day.

The four-hour closing to search for a bomb backed up truck traffic for more than 3 miles.

Four days earlier, someone called Canadian police to report a bomb in the 1-mile-long Windsor-Detroit Tunnel.

No bomb was found and the tunnel reopened after about four hours. A police team from both sides of the border is investigating.

News in brief

• The last manufacturing facility operated by Baskin-Robbins in North America is being closed in Peterborough, Ontario, with the loss of 80 jobs. Officials said the plant can no longer keep up with demand and it isn't feasible to expand or have the company remain as a manufacturer. Beginning in October, production for Baskin-Robbins' 113 shops in Canada will shift to the Scotsburn Dairy of Truro, Nova Scotia.

• Two Montreal lifeguards employed by the city have lost their jobs for texting or watching their cellphones while on duty. A Facebook photo taken by a swimmer on a west-end island shows the lifeguards sitting side by side and staring down at their phones. Their actions were "unacceptable" and the rules must be respected to keep swimmers safe, said city spokeswoman Valerie De Gagne.

Facts and figures

The Canadian dollar has advanced to 98.75 cents in U.S. funds while the U.S. dollar returns $1.0125 Canadian, before bank exchange fees.

The Bank of Canada's key interest rate remains at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate is 3 percent.

Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 11,605 points and the TSX Venture index 1,193 points.

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Regional briefs

• Concern over the possible sighting of a shark resulted in a popular Halifax-area beach being closed on Thursday afternoon. The "suspicious fish" with a fin was observed at Lawrencetown Beach and no one wanted to take any chances, said lifeguard Richard MacAulay. Marine experts have previously seen sharks in Nova Scotia waters but there has never been a reported attack.

• A Seattle family was detained for two hours and threatened with thousands of dollars in fines at the U.S. border while returning from Vancouver. Chris Sweeney said they had six Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs containing a small plastic toy. The German-made confection is banned in the U.S. as a possible choking hazard and adulterated food. They are "prohibited just like narcotics," said Mike Milne of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, adding that about 60,000 eggs were seized last year.

Jim Fox can be reached at


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