This article titled “Toronto: Greektown shooting leaves three dead and 12 injured” was written by Ashifa Kassam in Toronto and Kate Lyons, for theguardian.com on Monday 23rd July 2018 20.29 Asia/Kolkata
Two people have died and 12 others have been injured after a lone gunman opened fire along a lively avenue in the Canadian city of Toronto, seemingly shooting at random at pedestrians and into crowded restaurants.
A young woman was killed in the shooting and those injured include a young girl in critical condition, police have said. Details of the second victim have not yet been released.
The 29-year-old suspected gunman was also found dead in a nearby alley after a brief exchange of gunfire with police, though it remains unclear how he died.
Police have yet to release his identity or speculate on a motive for the shooting.
Emergency services rushed to Toronto’s Greektown neighbourhood at about 10pm on Sunday night. A shooting spree, lasting minutes and spanning several blocks, had sparked terror in the busy area.
Diners enjoying a balmy evening scrambled to take cover, Andrew Mantzios told the Globe and Mail. He watched as the gunman crisscrossed Danforth Avenue, shooting into businesses. People were “falling all over the place – maybe seven, eight, nine of them,” he said.
“And then a lady tried to run and she fell down,” said Mantzios. “He turned around and shot her point blank, two or three times.”
He watched, horrified, as the man continued down the street. “Believe me, I’ve never seen anything like that,” he said. “I am still in shock.”
Video posted on social media showed a man, dressed in black, walking quickly down the sidewalk before stopping to fire a handgun into a restaurant.
Jody Steinhauer said she was at a restaurant on Danforth Avenue with her family when she heard what sounded like 10 to 15 firecracker blasts.
She was told to run to the back of the restaurant, she told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
“We started to hear people scream out front,” Steinhauer said.
John Tory , the mayor of Toronto, described the attack as “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,” he wrote on Twitter.
“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 urged people not to speculate as to the motive of the attack and said he had “total confidence” in the ability of police to determine what happened.
Speaking to reporters shortly after the shooting, Tory characterised the shooting as “evidence of a gun problem” in Toronto. Police confirmed that the shooter used a handgun.
“Guns are too readily available to too many people,” he said.
Toronto is grappling with a sharp rise in gun violence this year. There have been 26 deaths from gun violence in the city so far this year, a 53% increase from the same period last year, with the number of shootings rising 13%, according to police data.
The shooting comes days after Toronto police put roughly 200 additional officers on patrol in particular neighbourhoods between the hours of 7pm and 3am – when most shootings occur – as part of a plan to tackle gun crime in the city.
Paula Fletcher, a Toronto city councillor, told broadcaster CP24 that the shooting appeared not to be “gang related. It looks like someone who is very disturbed.”
Justin Trudeau said his thoughts were with those affected by attack. “The people of Toronto are strong, resilient and brave – and we’ll be there to support you through this difficult time,” the Canadian prime minister wrote on Twitter.
Doug Ford, the premier of Ontario, tweeted that his “heart goes out to the victims and loved ones of the horrific act of gun violence in Toronto”.
Arcade Fire, a Canadian band, were performing in Toronto on Sunday night and sent their “love to those affected” on Twitter.
Toronto’s mayor noted that the shooting came just three months after a van attack in the city killed 10 people and injured 16 others.
“It’s almost inconceivable that these things can happen,” Tory told reporters. “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.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010