One woman is dead and 13 others are in hospital after being shot in Toronto’s Greektown neighbourhood Sunday evening.
Of the wounded victims, police have confirmed that a young girl, aged eight or nine, is in critical condition.
Authorities said the suspected gunman is dead, and police are working to determine what motivated the violence.
It’s unclear how the suspect died, said Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders, noting officers did exchange gunfire. No officers were injured.
Emergency crews were called to the scene near Danforth and Pape avenues, in Greektown, part of which is located within Toronto’s Riverdale neighbourhood, around 10 p.m. ET
Police spokesperson Mark Pugash said early Monday the condition of the other victims is not known yet. He said it’s too early to say whether the shooting is terrorism.
Mayor John Tory is asking anyone with information to get in touch with the police. This includes those who may have video surveillance footage, dashcam video or cellphone recordings.
He told reporters the shooting took place on a “very peaceful part of the Danforth” and that the community is in shock.
“It’s almost inconceivable that these things can happen,” he said.
Tory believes Sunday night’s shooting, in a popular, busy residential area known for its restaurants and cafés, is “evidence of a gun problem” in Toronto.
“Guns are too readily available to too many people,” Tory told reporters during a news conference two hours after the shooting took place.
Toronto Police Association president Mike McCormack told CBC Toronto seasoned officers have been saying they’ve never seen anything like this.
“It’s just a terrible scene. Families enjoying themselves on the Danforth, supposed to be in a very safe area, and this happens,” he said. “It’s absolutely devastating.”
Premier Doug Ford said on Twitter that “his heart goes out to the victims” and thanked first responders for acting quickly.
Coun. Mary Fragedakis, whose ward includes Danforth Avenue, tweeted “words cannot express my sadness over this despicable act.”
Witnesses describe chaos
Jody Steinhauer tells CBC News she was at Christina’s restaurant on the Danforth with her family when she heard what sounded like 10 to 15 blasts of firecrackers.
She said she was told to run to the back of the restaurant.
“We started to hear people scream out front,” Steinhauer said.
WARNING: This video may contain images that some may find disturbing
Kerri Lahey said she was eating dinner at 7Numbers restaurant with her boyfriend when she saw the gunman enter through a side door and shoot a woman.
“We were sitting out on the patio, and we heard shots, so we ran inside and he came in the restaurant and shot the girl right in front of me,” she said. “If we didn’t run inside at that time, we probably would have been dead right now.”
Lahey said the police treated the woman ahead of paramedics arriving to the scene.
“Thank God for the cops because the paramedics showed up so late that the cops saved her life.”
John Tulloch was getting out of his car on the Danforth when he heard gunshots.
“I thought it was fireworks at first ’cause it was a rapid fire,” he said. “We saw people starting to run in our direction. I still didn’t know what it was and then more people started running.”
He said the scene was surreal, and that it was hard to believe that it was real.
Andrew Van Eek, who lives in the area, said he stuck his head out the window after he heard the gunshots ring out.
“There was a lot of commotion in the street,” he said. “I saw somebody come just down the sidewalk and shoot into Demetres restaurant.”
He described the suspect as a white male, in his late to early 30s, who was dressed in all black. Police have yet to provide a suspect description.
A video from one witness shows a man dressed in black clothes and a black hat walking quickly and firing three shots from the sidewalk into at least one shop or restaurant
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.
“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,” Tory said.
“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.