Arrest in Skinner Homicide
Skinner was attempting to hail a cab on Oct. 18, 2009, after celebrating his sister Taryn’s birthday when he was struck and killed by the driver of a black SUV on Adelaide St. E. near Victoria St. Moments earlier, the occupants of the SUV had beaten Skinner and knocked him to the ground after he may have inadvertently come in contact with the vehicle. The driver ran Skinner over as he lay defenseless on the ground.
More than four years later, Augustin Alexander Caruso, 23, of Toronto, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder on Nov. 6. He is not known to police.
D/Sgt. Stacy Gallant said the arrest is bittersweet.
“I’m disappointed to say that, in the four years of the investigation, none of these individuals that did not participate in any way in the death of Chris Skinner chose to come forward on their own. They instead chose to keep it to themselves and lived with it for the past four years,” Gallant said, noting the investigation is still ongoing.
“I can assure you that there will be more arrests in this case in the very near future. As I’ve said in the past, anyone who assisted, in any way, four years ago or four days ago, or participated in any way in the events that led to the death of Christopher Skinner, will be held to account.”
Six people were in the car that killed Skinner; two were women.
“The people in the vehicle know who they are and I’m sure they’re aware I am pursuing them and I will continue to do so,” Gallant said.
Gallant thanked the media for keeping the case in the headlines, eliciting many tips from the public.
He did not give details of what led to the arrest as the case is now before the courts.
Police recently seized a black 2004 Ford Explorer they believe was used in the crime.
Both Gallant and retired Det. Doug Dunstan delivered the news to Skinner’s parents on the day of the arrest. Dunstan also attended the news conference as the open case always gnawed at him.
“It was difficult to retire, knowing progress was being made in the investigation,” said Dunstan, who wanted to be there when the family was notified.
“I feel sorry for the Skinners… they must carry this for the rest of their lives… I feel sorry for the Caruso family too.”
Christopher’s parents, Warren and Ellen, expressed a sense of relief but also recognition it would be a long road forward as the case unfolds in court.
“I never lost hope,” said Warren, a lawyer, who held hands with his wife, Ellen, as Gallant delivered the news of the arrest.
“It starts a whole new chapter of agony and pain,” Ellen said.
She said her son was very family-oriented, visiting home nearly every weekend with friends in tow.
“Christopher was a larger-than-life personality, he was a star that was extinguished,” she said, of her outgoing son who had many friends, many of whom he brought to family gatherings.
“His friends were our family and we were their family and it remains so to this day.”
The Christopher Skinner Memorial Foundation has helped many charities through an annual fundraising golf tournament. Many friends and family attended the news conference.
Ellen Skinner noted that those in the vehicle that killed her son must live with their inaction forever.
“They have to live with that for the rest of their lives.”