Two people are dead and a girl is critically injured after a shooting Sunday night on Danforth Ave.
Police Chief Mark Saunders confirmed that a young woman had died and 13 other victims were injured in the shooting in the busy Greektown area. The injured girl was described as 8 or 9 years old. Saunders also confirmed that the alleged gunman was dead.
The police chief said there was an “exchange of gunfire” and that the shooter had used a handgun. He said the attack did not appear to be random. It was not immediately clear whether the alleged attacker had been killed by police or by self-inflicted gunshots.
Witnesses described a man dressed in black, with a black hat, firing about 20 shots in the area.
Paramedics said multiple people were taken to hospitals and trauma centres, including the child who was transported to the Hospital for Sick Children.
Jessica Young, an employee at Second Cup on Danforth and Hampton Aves., said she saw the attacker: “I look to my side and see the shooter through the window. He sees me, or he sees my co-worker or someone, and points the gun and shoots through the window.
“He was probably no taller than me, wearing a black baseball cap, dark clothes. He had light skin. I think he had short facial hair. That’s all I could make out.”
“It seemed to be like a pistol or handgun,” she said
Witnesses earlier described seeing several people on the ground inside Mezes restaurant, further east toward Logan Ave. It was not clear to witnesses if those people had been injured or were hiding.
Video footage and photos posted online by bystanders appeared to show a man who matched descriptions of the shooter walking west along the sidewalk on the north side of Danforth Ave., east of Chester Ave., and firing into a storefront. The man was wearing a black ballcap and appeared to be carrying some type of bag.
A woman named Diana interviewed by CP24 said she had been working at Demetres café, where she was serving a family that included the little girl who was shot. She said she saw a gunman aim at the restaurant and heard him fire about three shots through the patio doors.
A woman who only gave her name as Mary said she was in Pantheon restaurant, on the south side of Danforth Ave. when she saw a young girl being placed on a stretcher and taken into an ambulance.
Gaylene Edmonson was sitting in her backyard when she heard the first shot ring out. “I first heard it and thought it was a gunshot, because I’m paranoid about that sort of stuff,” she said, but she convinced herself at first that it was a firecracker. Edmonson believes she heard 15 to 20 gunshots that sounded to be moving away from he home.
John Tulloch said he and his brother had just got out of their car on Danforth when he heard about 20 to 30 gunshots.
“We just ran. We saw people starting to run, so we just ran,” he said.
Toronto Fire was called to the scene at 10:04 p.m., and requested additional ambulance support. Emergency Task Force officers arrived on the scene and began to cordon off several blocks.
Saunders confirmed that the SIU had been notified but stressed that there was still an active investigation and the scene was being secured.
Both Saunders and Mayor John Tory urged witnesses to come forward with any information they might have.
On the scene Sunday, Tory offered his condolences to families of the victims and urged residents not to jump to conclusions about what transpired and why.
In a statement, the mayor called the shooting a “despicable act” and thanked first responders who had rushed to aid the victims.
“On behalf of all Toronto residents, I am outraged that someone has unleashed such a terrible attack on our city and people innocently enjoying a Sunday evening,” Tory said.
“… While our city will always be resilient in the face of such attacks, it does not mean such a cowardly act committed against our residents is any less painful — this is an attack against innocent families and our entire city,” Tory said.
Police cordoned off a large area of Danforth Ave. They also confirmed that a suspicious package was being investigated.
Police were appealing for witnesses to come forward and loaded several people at the scene onto city buses to take them to local police divisions. They asked any witnesses who had left the scene to call CrimeStoppers.