Man arrested in Torino for gay village murders

For years, there were whispers in Toronto's gay community about a serial killer stalking the community. Now that one of their own has been charged with the murders of five missing men, they wonder why the police didn't act sooner, writes bbc.com.

In a small park in the heart of Toronto's Gay Village, about 200 people assembled in the snow to mourn the victims of an alleged serial killer.

Many wore armbands painted with the words "love", "heal", "rise", "grieve". The words were later used in a call-and-response between organisers and the large crowd.

"Today we grieve," they said, and the word echoed back from the crowd.

"Today we resist. Today we heal. Today we rise. Today, of all days, we love."

But as the names of the victims were read out into the winter air, there was only silence.

In January, police charged Bruce McArthur with five counts of first degree murder for the deaths of Andrew Kinsman, 49, Majeed Kayhan, 58, Soroush Mahmudi, 50, Dean Lisowick 47, and Salim Esen, 44.

McArthur has not yet entered a plea and the police investigation is ongoing.

Officials believe there may be more victims.

The arrest confirmed the worst fears of many in the Village, who for years had whispered that a serial killer might be targeting their community.

"Too many people for too long in our community have been lost," said Troy Jackson, who hosted the community vigil.

Located at the intersection of Church Street and Wellesley Street, Toronto's Gay Village has been the city's enclave for the LGBT community since the 1960s.

It's also been more than a neighbourhood - a home away from home for many who may feel marginalised because of their sexuality.

Perhaps this is why the killings have hit the community especially hard, says Soofia Mahmood, a spokesperson for The 519, a community centre that helped organise the vigil.

"It's making the community feel more vulnerable," Mahmood says.

Many of the victims were immigrants from South Asia or the Middle East who were not out to their families. The Village was supposed to be their safe place. Instead, it became a hunting ground.

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