Wild shootout in Toronto leaves 2 dead, 22 injured
Infant shot in head is among survivors of street-party violence
Posted: Jul 16, 2012 11:39 PM ET
Two people were shot to death, 19 were wounded, and three others were trampled Monday night in a shooting rampage at a block party in Toronto’s east end.
Exactly what led to the shootout is unclear, but there have been suggestions an argument broke out between two men and each pulled guns and began firing wildly into the crowds.
A teenage girl and a 20-year-old man died at the scene.
Three other people were badly injured when they were trampled by the panicked crowds trying to flee the violence.
Toronto police also said Tuesday morning that one of the 19 wounded in the rampage was a baby under two years of age, who was hit by a bullet in the head.
The child’s condition wasn’t immediately known.
Others injured in the melee ranged in age from age 16 to 30, police said.
Blair called the incident an episode of “senseless violence,” the likes of which he had not seen during his 35-year career as a police officer.
Blair said one of the injured was a “person of interest” and had been taken into custody. More than one gun was used in the incident, and one weapon was found at the scene.
“Tonight’s event is shocking to every Torontonian,” Blair said. “It will be shocking to all of Canada, because of the number of the people injured. The level of violence is something we have never experienced.” He added that the homicide squad, intelligence unit, as well as the guns and gangs unit were already involved in the investigation.
Blair said that police are still gathering information about the incident, which took place before 11 p.m. ET on Danzig Street, near Morningside Avenue and Lawrence Avenue East.
Police believe that more than 200 people attended the party.
“This is an area of the city that has never experienced this level of violence before,” Blair said.
Police Const. Wendy Drummond said police were dealing with a large crime scene and were trying to make contact with any witnesses who saw the shooting.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said he was “shocked and disgusted” by the “senseless act of violence.”
Pedestrians early Tuesday look at the scene of a shooting in Toronto’s east end that left 22 people injured and two dead at a house party late Monday. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/Canadian Press)
“On behalf of all Toronto residents, I would like to extend our thoughts and prayers to the victims, their families and friends,” he said in a written statement released hours after the shooting.
Police have been dealing with a sharp increase in the number of shootings in the City of Toronto this year compared to last.
According to preliminary statistics posted on the police website, there have been 140 reported shooting incidents as of July 16.
Danzig Street, Toronto, Ont.
That’s an increase of 32.1 per cent compared with the number reported at the same time last year.
Prior to the shooting on Monday evening, 16 people had been killed in gun-related homicides on the streets of Toronto since January 1, compared to 14 people at the same time last year.
The Monday night shooting in Scarborough was also the latest event in which a gun was fired in a crowded public place.
A shooting at the Eaton Centre on June 2 left one man dead and another fatally wounded.
Later that month, a man was shot dead on a crowded patio in Little Italy where patrons had gathered to watch a soccer game.
On Canada Day, a man was shot in the chest after the close of a fireworks show.
Statement from Mayor Rob Ford
“I am shocked and disgusted by this senseless act of violence.
While we try to understand this tragic event, I want to assure residents that this horrific, criminal behaviour will not be tolerated in our City.
On behalf of all Toronto residents, I would like to extend our thoughts and prayers to the victims, their families and friends.”
Worry, fear, anger as Toronto awakes to bloody
‘I’m a woman, so we’re always afraid’
Posted: Jul 17, 2012 10:13 AM ET
CBC Metro Morning host Matt Galloway hosted a call-in to hear from Torontonians about the shootout in Scarborough. (Dwight Friesen/CBC)
It didn’t take long for ordinary citizens of Toronto to express their feelings about the latest brazen public shooting.
On Tuesday morning, less than 12 hours after a wild late-night gunfight in Scarborough left two dead, 19 wounded and three trampled, CBCMetro Morning host Matt Galloway asked people to call in.
The result was a wide range of views about the shootings, violence in the city and the causes.
Gay, whose 16-year-old daughter was robbed and mugged in the city over the past eight days, said Toronto has “been immune for so long from what happens in large cities. We have to adapt to being like large American cities.”
But most weren’t accepting that Toronto is heading in that direction.
Emmanuel, who lives near to the scene of the shooting, said his first reaction was for the “safety for my family, for my kids.”
But he also said he is “angry because I just live two streets away from the site, and as a parent, as a community member here, I continue to raise sad questions about the safety of our city and the responsibility that we have — all of us — to try to get to the root causes …”
“Young people who are not thinking”
What are the root causes and how to deal with these shocking episodes of violence are unclear. Different people look at it from different perspectives.
City councillor and vice-chair of the Police Services Board, Michael Thompson, called it “a very disturbing trend … young people who are not thinking.”
But Chris Penrose who works with Success Beyond Limits, a youth outreach program in Toronto’s Jane-Finch neighbourhood, says an incident like this “doesn’t happen overnight.”
“I feel like we’re becoming more polarized. I feel like we’re becoming more desensitized. I feel that people are becoming more hopeless about what we can do around the violence in the city.”
“We’re back in that place we were in early June, when there was that shooting at the Eaton Centre. when there’s that shock, that disgust, that question of safety,” he told Galloway.
“I’ve had scary things happen to me …”
The feeling of despair was echoed by Jen, a young woman who said there’s a reality on the streets and in the community that many people may not be aware of. “I’m a woman, so we’re always afraid.”
“I’m a woman and I live in Scarborough. I’ve had scary things happen to me — things that make your heart pound,” she said.
But when asked how Toronto should deal with the rising level of violence in the city, Jen said she didn’t think reactionary measures were the answer.
“Fear isn’t the answer. Being afraid isn’t the answer. Something definitely needs to be done. I just don’t know the answer.”
Emmanuel expressed what many people in the city are probably thinking.
“At the local level your sense of security is dented,” he said.
But he added, he needs questions answered.
“Why do we have young people in our city who resort to guns to resolve differences? Why do we have easy access to guns? What is it we need to do to go to the roots of violence in this city?”
Toronto shooting leaves 2 dead, 21 injured
Infant shot in head is among survivors of street-party violence