May 23, 1996

John Smied and Ian Robertson

Fear, Panic on Street
Shockwave hits hooker tracks:
One gun used to kill three prostiutes

TORONTO - Police say the same gun was used to fatally shoot three street hookers in the head within hours in central Toronto.

While the Metro Police homicide detective in charge of the case refuses to say a serial killer was at work Monday night, the fear is in people's minds.

"The alarm has to be sounded," Toronto Councillor Kyle Rae told reporters after a police press conference.

"It's terrifying to think that this kind of pre-meditated, execution-style murder has come to the streets of Toronto," he said. "There's fear and panic out there ... it's a serial gun."

But Det.-Sgt. Jim McDermott told reporters last night "I'm not calling it that (serial killer) yet.

"I'd rather have the investigation carry on a little further and see what more we're dealing with. It very well could be random killings, and it very well may not be random killings."

The press briefing was called to announce that three prostitutes share the same killer: Brenda Iris Ludgate, 25, a Parkdale-area hooker found dead early Tuesday; Shawn Keegan, 19, a drag-queen prostitute found dead two minutes later on a Cabbagetown hooker "track," and Thomas Wilkinson, 31, also a transvestite hooker, found 150 metres from Keegan nine hours later.

While Keegan and Wilkinson were regulars at Homewood Ave. and Carlton Sts., a female prostitute and the manager of a boardinghouse where Keegan lived said they recognized Ludgate from a photograph as a regular in the neighborhood.

The three were killed between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m., McDermott said. The two men's bodies were found about 3 km from where Ludgate was discovered.

All were shot in the head. At what distance, with what kind of gun and how many times, police refused to say.


Police, responding to a 911 call at 11:57 p.m. Monday, found Ludgate in a parking lot next to an electrical supply business on King St., just west of Bathurst St. Two minutes later, police received a phone call from security guards who found Keegan in the stairwell of an underground garage of 40 Homewood Ave., in the Sherbourne-Wellesley Sts. area.

At 9 a.m., a man heading for work and and the owner of a bed-and-breakfast home behind 65 Homewood Ave. found Wilkinson's body.

Keegan's and Wilkinson's murders were connected later that day by Metro Police homicide detectives. It wasn't until yesterday afternoon that tests on bullets taken from the victims linked them to the death of Ludgate.

Ludgate was best-known for working the Parkdale area, but also Queen and Bathurst Sts.

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Created: November 13, 1996
Last modified: November 18, 1996

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