Killer sentenced in double slaying outside Toronto’s Rebel nightclub

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Concert promoter Tyler McLean and Afghan translator Zemarai Khan Mohammed were fatally shot in October 2017

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A gun-toting drug dealer who took the lives of two friends over “an insignificant dispute” outside a Toronto nightclub four years ago continues to “deny responsibility.”

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Tanade Mohamed, 28, was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for the second-degree murder of Zemarai Khan Mohammed, 26, and 15 years for manslaughter in the slaying of Tyler McLean, 25, in the Rebel parking lot on Oct. 1, 2017.

“The chain of events which led to these two homicides began with an insignificant dispute,” Justice Peter Bawden said in describing the argument and altercations as people were leaving the waterfront bar at 3 a.m.

“I know that he (Mohamed) continues to this day to take every possible opportunity to deny responsibility for his actions to avoid accountability.”

The deadly incident happened after two scuffles between Mohamed and McLean outside the club on Poulson St.

The first was at a hot dog stand and the second as McLean was heading toward the parking lot.

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A Toronto Police crime scene marker is seen on a Volvo bumper covered in blood spatter in the parking lot next to Rebel nightclub on Poulson St. on Sunday, October 1, 2017. Jack Boland/Toronto Sun
A Toronto Police crime scene marker is seen on a Volvo bumper covered in blood spatter in the parking lot next to Rebel nightclub on Poulson St. on Sunday, October 1, 2017. Jack Boland/Toronto Sun

Both altercations were defused by McLean’s friend, Mohammed, who the judge said played peacemaker twice within minutes.

Shortly after, Mohamed and his friend Abdirisaq Ali – who was acquitted Oct. 4 – drove a Dodge Durango into the lot to follow McLean and Mohammed.

Mohamed exited the vehicle and ran toward McLean.

Mohammed tried to defend his friend and punched Mohamed — who then shot him in the head, killing him instantly.

McLean jumped onto the side of the truck as it tried to flee and Mohamed shot the popular concert promoter in the chest.

“These events have occurred in a city which has been plagued in recent years by similar instances of unprovoked shootings in public areas,” the judge said.

Toronto Police remove one of the victim’s cars – a BMW – from the parking lot next to Rebel nightclub on Poulson St. on Sunday, October 1, 2017. Jack Boland/Toronto Sun
Toronto Police remove one of the victim’s cars – a BMW – from the parking lot next to Rebel nightclub on Poulson St. on Sunday, October 1, 2017. Jack Boland/Toronto Sun

Bawden noted that Mohammed had come to Canada from Afghanistan after serving as an interpreter for Canadian soldiers for four years.

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“It is especially painful to contemplate that after the many hazards Mr. Khan Mohammed faced keeping Canadian soldiers safe in Afghanistan, he lost his own life in Canada in such a callous and senseless fashion,” Bawden said.

In imposing the sentence, the judge highlighted Mohamed trafficked cocaine for at least two years and had a gun since 2016.

“Mr. Mohamed was thoroughly invested in the lifestyle of being a drug dealer and in his view that entitled him to carry a gun,” Bawden said, adding later that it “gives rise to a denunciatory sentence which will send a message to the many other young men like him involved in the drug trade. The message is that drug dealers have no licence to carry firearms.”

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The judge also spoke about the 17 victim impact statements, and how the families felt cut off by proceedings conducted entirely by Zoom due to COVID.

He said he regretted that “much of that human element was lost in this Zoom proceeding.”

Mohamed is ineligible for parole for 18 years.

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