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Two dead, 13 injured in downtown Toronto shooting


TORONTO — One woman was killed and 13 people were injured after a shooting in a popular Toronto neighbourhood late Sunday that ended with the death of the suspected gunman, authorities said as they worked to determine what motivated the violence.

Police Chief Mark Saunders appealed to members of the public to share any information they had about the incident, including video of what happened, saying investigators didn't know what prompted the attack but would be considering all possibilities.

"I'm looking at every single possible motive for this," he said. "When you have this many people struck by gunfire it's a grave concern."

The incident began around 10 p.m. in Toronto's Greektown neighbourhood, which is filled with restaurants, bars and boutiques.

A man armed with a handgun made his way down busy Danforth Avenue, firing as he went, turning the tranquil scene into one of chaos and horror.

Chief Saunders said that a woman was killed and a girl, aged eight or nine, was critically injured.

Many of the other victims were rushed to trauma centres, however, there was no immediate word on their conditions.

Saunders told a media briefing that the shooter had exchanged fire with police officers and died at the scene. He could not immediately confirm whether the gunman was hit by police fire, but he said that no officers were injured.

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 said.

An army of police, paramedics and other first responders soon descended on the scene, while a crowd of area residents, some in their pyjamas emerged from their homes to see what was going on.

A woman, who only gave her first name as Mary, said she was in the Pantheon Restaurant on Danforth Avenue when she saw a little girl on a stretcher being placed in an ambulance.

Toronto Mayor John Tory joined Chief Saunders at the media briefing. 

"Tonight, a despicable act has been perpetrated on the Danforth in our city," he said. "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 thanked the first responders who rushed to the scene, and extended prayers and condolences for the victims on behalf of all Toronto residents.

The mayor later issued a statement saying he'd talked to Ontario Premier Doug Ford who conveyed his condolences on behalf of the province and offered any assistance required.

Tory said this incident hasn't given much time for the city to heal after 10 people were killed just a few months ago in a van attack.

In April a white van mounted a sidewalk on a busy Toronto street and ran down pedestrians.

Alek Minassian, 25, of Richmond Hill, Ont., now faces 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder.

"It's almost inconceivable that these things can happen," said Tory. "We were so used to living in a city where these things didn't happen and as we saw them going on in the world around us (we) thought they couldn't happen here."

"I can say to people to just try and stay calm while police try to figure out what happened here."

Just this weekend an additional 200 police officers were deployed in various areas of the city in response to a recent spike in gun violence in Toronto that officials have blamed primarily on gang activity.

By Steve Hennigar, Alanna Rizza and Diana Mehta

 

 

 

 

 

The Canadian Press

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