N.S. man facing assault charges linked to Toronto shootings in 2001

A Shelburne County man is facing multiple charges after alleged assaults that injured two police officers in the community of Blanche, N.S. 

The man has the same name and is the same age as a man found not criminally responsible of killing two neighbours in 2001 in Toronto.

RCMP said the first assault happened Wednesday when a man ran out of his home on Blanche Road and confronted someone who was driving by. The man headbutted the driver, who was still in the vehicle, and spat on him.

The following day, RCMP said they went to arrest Grigorius Laberakis in connection with the assault. The 59-year-old man walked out of his home carrying a walking stick, but dropped it when police ordered him to do so, said RCMP.

But when Laberakis was told he was under arrest, RCMP said he resisted and a struggled ensued. Laberakis allegedly struck two officers with the stick, hitting one in the head and another in the wrist, before he was pepper sprayed and Tasered.

Laberakis and the two officers were taken to hospital. Laberakis wasn’t injured, but the police officers sustained minor injuries.

Multiple charges

RCMP said Laberakis faces multiple charges, including assault, aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, resisting arrest and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

Laberakis is believed to be the man found not criminally responsible for the 2001 deaths in Toronto. In various court documents, he is referred to as Grigorius, Gregorios or Gregory Laberakis. Besides the similarities in their names, the two are also the same age.

2012 Ontario Court of Appeal decision

In October 2001, Dante Lozano, 54, and Jerry Soriano, 35, were shot and killed in their home on Toronto’s Torrens Avenue. Laberakis, their next-door neighbour, was initially charged with first-degree murder. He had no criminal record at the time.  

A 2012 decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal granted Laberakis an absolute discharge. The decision noted that Laberakis had strong community support and that his treatment team and hospital supported the discharge.

“There is no factual basis to support a finding that the appellant poses significant threat to the community,” said the decision.

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