Sunday 19 January 2020

Three dead including gunman after Toronto mass shooting

A 29-year-old man opened fire into restaurants and cafes in Canada’s largest city, police said.

Civilians are escorted from the scene of the shooting (AP)
Civilians are escorted from the scene of the shooting (AP)

By Rob Gillies

A man has killed two people and left 12 others injured after he fired a handgun into restaurants and cafes in Toronto, before dying following an exchange of gunfire with police.

Police chief Mark Saunders did not rule out terrorism as a motive after the incident in Greektown, though officials did not immediately identify the 29-year-old attacker.

Toronto police spokeswoman Meaghan Gray later revealed a second victim had died, though there were no further details.

A police officer escorts a civilian away from the scene (AP)

Mr Saunders earlier said a young woman had died in Sunday’s shootings and that a girl aged eight or nine was in a critical condition. The condition of the other victims is not yet known.

Five of the 14 people shot by the gunman are in a serious or critical, but stable, condition.

St Michael’s Hospital trauma surgeon Dr Najma Ahmed said three of those people who were wounded underwent immediate operations to save their lives.

Video footage shot by one witness shows a man dressed in black clothes and a black hat walking quickly and firing three shots from the pavement into at least one shop or restaurant in Toronto’s Greektown, a lively residential area with crowded Greek restaurants and cafes.

Witnesses heard many shots and described the suspect opening fire as he walked past restaurants, cafes and patios on both sides of the street.

Police chief Mark Saunders and Toronto mayor John Tory speak to the media following the attack (Christopher Katsarov/AP)

John Tulloch said he and his brother had just gotten out of their car when he heard about 20 to 30 gunshots.

He said: “We just ran. We saw people starting to run so we just ran.”

Police, paramedics and other first responders quickly arrived on the scene, while people, some in their pyjamas, emerged from their homes to see what was happening.

Toronto councillor Paula Fletcher said of the incident: “It’s not gang-elated. It looks like someone who is very disturbed.”

Mass shootings are rare in Canada’s largest city.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said: “We were so use to living in a city where these things didn’t happen.

“But there are things that happen nowadays and they are just unspeakable.”

This past weekend, Toronto police deployed dozens of additional officers to deal with a recent spike in gun violence in the city.

Tactical police officers walk along Danforth Avenue (Frank Gunn/AP)

“Guns are too readily available to too many people,” Mr Tory said.

The mass shooting comes a few months after a driver of a van ploughed into pedestrians on a Toronto pavement, killing 10 people and injuring 14.

Authorities have not disclosed a motive. But they have said the arrested driver, Alek Minassian, posted a message on social media referencing a misogynistic online community prior to the attack.

PA Media

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