Two people including the gunman are dead and 13 wounded in Toronto after a shooting Sunday in the bustling Greektown neighborhood, adding to concern about gun violence in Canada’s largest city.
A video clip posted by Canadian media appeared to show a dark-clad man walking on the sidewalk and then turning to aim and fire a handgun.
“One female adult has died. One young girl in critical condition,” Toronto police said on Twitter, adding that all 14 victims were shot with a handgun.
Police said the suspect was also dead, and Chief Mark Saunders said there had been “an exchange of gunfire.”
It was not clear, however, whether the suspect died from police gunfire or killed himself.
Saunders said it was too soon to know what the motive was for the rampage in a district of cafes and restaurants.
Toronto’s homicide squad was leading the investigation but local media reported the independent Special Investigations Unit, which probes police-involved shootings, had also been notified.
Officers, some armed with rifles, sealed off Greektown’s main street, known as the Danforth, after getting the call around 10:00 pm (0200 GMT Monday).
Witnesses reported hearing about 20 shots.
“There was a lot of shots. It would shoot, there’d be a pause, we heard more shooting, and then a pause and then more shooting,” The Globe and Mail quoted John Tulloch, who was out for a walk at the time, as saying.
“There must’ve been 20, 30 shots, altogether. It was a lot. We just ran.”
People screamed, fled
Jody Steinhauer told CBC News she was at a neighborhood restaurant with her family when she heard what sounded like 10 to 15 blasts of firecrackers.
She said she was told to run to the back of the restaurant.
“We started to hear people scream out front,” Steinhauer told the broadcaster.
Ontario’s new Premier Doug Ford called it a “horrific act of gun violence” and said his heart went out to the victims.
The incident comes with Canada’s largest metropolis concerned over a surge of shootings. Canada traditionally has relatively low levels of gun violence, particularly compared with its neighbor the United States.
Mayor John Tory said Sunday night’s firearms violence is “evidence of a gun problem” in Toronto.
“Guns are too readily available to too many people,” Tory told a news conference.
Tory added that details of the latest incident remained sketchy and urged people to stay calm.
“We have to figure out what happened here. We don’t know,” he said.
Toronto Police statistics show that, to July 14, there had been a total of 220 shootings with 27 fatalities so far this year, against 196 with 17 deaths for all of 2017.
Last week, Toronto police started implementing the enforcement component of their “gun violence reduction plan.” That includes around 200 additional officers on shift in particular neighborhoods between the hours of 7:00 pm and 3:00 am — when most shootings occur.
The Greektown shooting comes about three months after the city was shaken by the deaths of 10 people killed by a man with an apparent grudge against women who drove into them on a busy street in Toronto’s north end.