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Rosie DiManno: The killer of Const. Todd Baylis is up for parole. Baylis’s partner says there must be a better way

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14.06.2019

Mike Leone won’t speak the words aloud, about pain and grief and anger.

“I’m not going to give him the satisfaction.”

The man who tried to kill him — and would have, had the gun not jammed — after Leone had already been shot in the back.

After his partner, Todd Baylis, had been shot, mortally wounded — executed — the weapon fired mere inches from his temple while the constable, ankle broken, lay on the ground at the gunman’s mercy.

Baylis, whose first friendly words to the man that the officers had just encountered in the stairwell of a public housing complex on Trethewey Dr., had been: “What’s up?”

An ordinary foot patrol, on an ordinary June night in 1994.

Neither Baylis nor Leone knew the man’s pockets were stuffed with bags of crack. Or that he’d been on a final deportation order back to his native Jamaica for two years but had disappeared after his mother posted a $2,000 bond, immigration authorities losing track of the fugitive in a woefully clogged system. Or that he was a lifetime violent offender, with 14 criminal convictions, including narcotics, possession of a restricted weapon and escaping lawful custody.

Or that he was armed with a stolen 9 mm semi-automatic.

None of that was on the cops’ radar when their paths fatefully crossed with Clinton Junior Gayle.

Gayle ran downstairs to the basement, straight into a locked garage door, where a vicious struggle ensued. He shoved Baylis in the chest, throwing him to the ground. Baylis never had a chance to even unholster his weapon before he was shot, Leone wounded. Gayle attempted to shoot Leone again — eliminate the witness, court would later hear. But click-click. Nothing.

Dispatch received a gasping message, Code 10-33, for an emergency transmission.

“We’ve been shot! ... P.C.’s been shot! ... We’ve both been shot!’’

Baylis died in hospital five hours later.

At the slain officer’s funeral procession, Leone carried his partner’s cap on a blue velvet cushion. Four months after that, Leone was back at work.

“I had three years on the job,” Leone told the Star on Thursday, “just starting my career. Twenty-five years later, here I am.”

Staff........

© Toronto Star