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Thursday, Nov 21, 2019

Two victims, gunman dead in Toronto shooting rampage

The gunman, who police said was 29, was not identified by name and a motive for the shooting in a district of cafes and restaurants was not immediately known.

world Updated: Jul 23, 2018 21:20 IST
Anirudh Bhattacharyya
Anirudh Bhattacharyya
Hindustan Times, Toronto
Police officers attend the scene of a mass shooting in Toronto, Canada on July 22.
Police officers attend the scene of a mass shooting in Toronto, Canada on July 22.(REUTERS)

A gunman opened fire in the bustling Danforth neighbourhood of Toronto on Sunday night, claiming two lives and leaving a dozen injured. The 29-year-old male, who is yet to be named by law enforcement, also exchanged fire with Toronto police officers on the scene and his body was later found in the vicinity of the mayhem.

Toronto Police’s Homicide Squad confirmed on Monday that two of the 14 victims and the suspect were dead. The injured were rushed to trauma centres in the Canadian city. It was not clear if the gunman had been killed in the shoot-out with the police or committed suicide. Authorities have not disclosed the identities of the fatalities, who are believed to be a woman and a young girl.

The shooting, which horrified those thronging the busy strip of stores and restaurants on a weekend night, occurred at around 10 pm on Sunday.

While a motive has not been cited by investigators, the national broadcaster CBC quoted a patron of a restaurant in the area, 7Numbers, as saying that the gunman entered the establishment and targeted a woman there.

Carrie Lahey told the channel: “If we didn’t run inside at that time, we probably would have been dead right now.”

The gunman appears on a video posted online, dressed in dark clothes and carrying a bag slung over his shoulder.

Police and emergency crews swarmed into the locality, known as Greektown, and a special investigation unit took charge of the case. Toronto Police chief Mark Saunders told the media that they were examining every “single possible motive for this.”

Swathes of the area remained barricaded on Monday morning as investigators, including forensic experts, combed through the scene of the rampage.

In a press conference around midnight, city Mayor John Tory described the shooting as a “despicable act”. As shooting-related deaths have escalated in Canada’s largest city this year, he said, “Guns are too readily available to too many people.”

Reacting to the “terrible tragedy” on Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted, “The people of Toronto are strong, resilient and brave - and we’ll be there to support you through this difficult time.”

Expressing his shock, Ontario’s newly-elected Premier Doug Ford, took to Twitter: “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.”