A black-clad gunman opened fire on Sunday night in a bustling area of Toronto, killing at least two people and wounding 12 more before being found dead after a "gunfight" with the police, authorities said.
The motive for the shootings was not immediately clear and the alleged gunman's identity was not disclosed. But the police chief of Toronto, Mark Saunders, said it was not an accidental act, and terrorism was not ruled out.
Videos posted on the Internet show the gunman walking down a street with a pistol in his hand. He turns and fires at least three shots at a store. Other video footage of shots resounded from the buildings in an area of restaurants and shops known as Greektown.
A spokeswoman for Ontario's Special Investigations Unit, Monica Hudon, said two people had been killed along with the suspect. Saunders used to say that a woman was killed and a girl was in critical condition. But details of the second victim were not immediately known. It was not immediately clear whether the shooter was shot dead by the police or whether he killed himself
The gunfire broke out at around 1
Toronto Mayor John Tory described the shooting as a "despicable act" against innocents.
"Our city will always be resilient to such attacks, it does not mean that such a cowardly act is less painful against our inhabitants." Tory tweeted .
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his condolences on Monday.
"The people of Toronto are strong, resilient and brave – and we will be there to assist you in this difficult time", he wrote on Twitter, in English and French.
Ontario legislators massively commented on social media to comment on filming
Video allegedly recorded At the scene of the incident, the sound of gunfire sounded as pedestrians ducked into nearby buildings.
The attack destroyed an otherwise peaceful night in Greektown, a name borne by residents who filled the neighborhood after World War II The area is home to the popular "Taste of the Danforth" festival, a three-day annual food festival. and entertainment event in August, which attracts more than 1.5 million visitors, according to its website. The cultural melting pot of the festival – which includes Chinese, South Asian, Egyptian, Greek, Japanese and Azerbaijani dances – reflects the eclectic mix of neighborhoods.
"For non-Toronto fans: Danforth / Pape is one of those vibrant, bustling residential areas with tons of families on summer nights," columnist Robyn Urback wrote on Twitter after filming, referring to Pape Avenue, another street in the area. "That's horrible."
Andrew Van Eek, who lives near the shootings, told Canadian Broadcasting Corp. he stuck his head out the window after shooting.
"There was a lot of excitement on the road," he told the CBC. "I saw somebody coming down the sidewalk and shooting into the Demetres restaurant."
Van Eek told the network that the suspect was a white man in black who appeared to be in his early 30s.
Another witness told CTV that he estimated the shooter fired about 20 shots.
"And then I saw the carnage as I walked down the street here to follow the gunfire," he told the station. "I saw at least four people shot."
Jody Steinhauer strolled with her partner, two groups of grandparents and their children into a restaurant on Sunday evening. It was her birthday party, she told Radio New Zealand. But when the party entered the establishment, they suddenly heard cracks like firecrackers. Restaurant staff ordered everyone back in the room. Go downstairs, they said.
"Everything you could hear was screaming," recalls Steinhauer. "Then a woman came from the street and shouted:" Help me! Help me! "She had been shot in the leg."
The woman was taken to the back of the room and stabilized on a bench. "Thank god there was a doctor in the restaurant," said Steinhauer.
Steinhauer fled into a corner and started firing tweets about what had happened. "We could not even get to the emergency numbers because the circuits were so blocked," she said. "I was able to tweet to reporters to let them know what was going on."
The shooter was killed four blocks away by Steinhauer and her family, she said.
"It's just scary," she said. "Toronto is a very safe city with many people from many cultures, but who knows what really happened, and time will tell."
It was a violent year for Toronto. In April, 25-year-old Alek Minassian allegedly mowed down pedestrians in a shopping district in a van, leaving 10 dead and dozens injured. Minassian faces 10 counts of first degree murder.
But the recent deadly shooting also comes when Toronto experienced an increase in gun violence in the last few months of the summer. Eleven people were shot in seven days in late June, Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported. As of July 16, the city has seen 220 shootings in 2018, statistics show the police department. Gun-related deaths this year are 50 percent higher than in 2017, according to the BBC.
The sharp rise has sparked a significant public outcry. In response to pressure, the city launched a $ 15 million gun abatement plan last week. The proposal has taken a further 200 police officers in target areas between 19:00 and 22:00 on the streets of Toronto. and 3 o'clock for the rest of the summer.
In his brief comments on Monday morning, Tory, the mayor of Toronto, repeated that the Danforth shooting was "evidence of a weapon problem" in the city.
"Weapons are too" Tory said.
Brian Murphy contributed to this report.
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