Gunfire rang out along a busy Toronto street Sunday night leaving three people dead, including the 29-year-old man alleged to have been the shooter.
Toronto police say a total of 14 people were shot by a man with a handgun. According to Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit, two people were killed by a man who “fired shots at groups of people several times” while walking along Danforth Avenue.
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders told reporters that police received a call shortly after 10 p.m. Sunday about a shooting near Danforth and Logan Avenues in Toronto’s east-end Greektown neighbourhood. The area has many restaurants, cafes and shops and is busy with pedestrians on summer nights.
Police caught up with the man on nearby Bowden Street. The SIU says shots were exchanged and the man ran back to Danforth, where he was found dead on a sidewalk.
SIU investigators will attempt to determine whether the suspect was killed by police or died by suicide, CP24’s Cam Woolley told Your Morning.
One of the people killed in the shooting was a woman, Saunders said, while a girl believed to be eight or nine years old was in critical condition as of Sunday night.
Multiple witnesses told Toronto’s breaking news station CP24 that they heard anywhere between a dozen and 20 shots. Woolley, a former police officer, said he saw “about a dozen” shell casings in one location and noticed bullet holes in a nearby coffee shop.
“I think he fired at least 30 rounds before he was intercepted by police,” Woolley told CTV’s Your Morning.
John Tulloch said he and his brother had just gotten 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 told The Canadian Press.
Other witnesses described complete chaos as the suspect repeatedly fired his gun. Some social media users posted videos online in which shots can be heard along Danforth Avenue. One brief, chilling video appeared to show the suspect firing his gun.
Woolley said the video showed the man shooting “slowly and deliberately,” and that he appeared to be well-versed in firing and reloading his weapon.
“It appeared that the suspect had had some training or put some thought into this,” he said.
Saunders said it’s too early to say what motivated the shooting.
“I’m looking at absolutely every single possible motive,” Saunders said.
He encouraged any witnesses who had not yet spoken to police to come forward with any information, photos or videos they may have.
Toronto Mayor John Tory, who joined Saunders on the scene in the early hours of Monday morning, called the shooting a “despicable act.”
“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 in a statement.
“This is a tragedy and on behalf of all Toronto residents, we are extending our prayers to all the innocent people attacked tonight, their families and their friends.”
Mary Fragedakis, the city councillor for Toronto-Danforth, took to Twitter to thank first responders.
“Here on the Danforth tonight, my heart and prayers go out to the victims and their loved ones. Words cannot express my sadness over this despicable act. Thanks to all the first responders and medical teams,” she wrote.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford thanked first responders for their work to treat victims.
“My heart goes out to the victims and loved ones of the horrific act of gun violence in Toronto. Thank you to all the first responders for acting quickly to help everyone affected,” he tweeted.
With files from The Canadian Press