A man walked along a Toronto street repeatedly firing a pistol into restaurants and cafes, shooting 14 people and killing two before dying after an exchange of gunfire with police.
The unidentified man started shooting late on Sunday in the neighbourhood known as Greektown.
“Other than the shooter, we have a young lady that is deceased,” Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders told reporters. “We are looking at all possible motives … and not closing any doors.”
A girl aged 8 or 9 was also in critical condition, he said.
“This is an attack against innocent families and our entire city,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a city council meeting Monday.
It was not immediately clear whether the attacker killed himself or died of wounds after being shot by police.
|Police are seen near the scene of a mass shooting in Toronto, Canada [Chris Helgren/Reuters]|
Reports of gunfire began at 10pm (02:00 GMT Monday), CityNews.com reported.
A video from one witness showed a man dressed in black clothes and a black hat walking quickly and firing shots from the sidewalk.
John Tulloch said he and his brother had just gotten out of their car when he heard about 20-30 shots ring out. “We just ran. We saw people starting to run so we just ran,” he said.
Tanya Wilson was closing her tattoo shop on the street when a mother and son ran into her store with gunshot wounds to their legs.
“They said they were walking and a man told them to get the hell out his way and he just shot them,” Wilson said.
Paramedics, firefighters, and police converged on the scene of the shooting in Toronto’s east end, which has many popular restaurants, cafes and shops.
Toronto is grappling with a sharp rise in gun violence this year.
Deaths from gun violence in the city jumped 53 percent to 26 so far in 2018 from the same period last year, police data showed, with the number of shootings rising 13 percent.
Toronto deployed about 200 police officers on July 20 in response to the recent spate of shootings, which city officials have blamed on gang violence.
Toronto Councilor Paula Fletcher said Sunday’s attack was “not gang related”.
Mayor Tory vowed to pursue gun-law reform after the mass shooting.
“You’ve heard me ask the question of why anybody would need to buy 10 or 20 guns, which they can lawfully do under the present laws. And that leads to another question we need to discuss: why does anyone in this city need to have a gun at all?”
|People leave an area taped off by police near the scene of the mass shooting [Chris Helgren/Reuters]|