One dead, two injured in Entertainment District shooting
One person is dead and two others remain in hospital after gunfire erupted in broad daylight on one of the busiest streets in the city Saturday evening.
Multiple shots were heard outside Cube Nightclub in the area of Queen Street West and Peter Street, in the city’s Entertainment District, shortly before 8 p.m.
Graphic images posted to social media showed a young man lying on the sidewalk in a pool of blood after shots rang out.
Two victims were immediately located and rushed to a trauma centre, police said. The third victim was found some distance away from the scene of the shooting a short time later and was also rushed to hospital.
Toronto Paramedic Services said two males – one in his 20s and another of uncertain age – were taken to hospital with critical injuries, while a woman believed to be in her 30s was taken to hospital with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.
One of the male victims later died of his injuries in hospital, police said Saturday night.
Police said the suspects may have fled in a black SUV or a white car.
“Our investigators are on-scene right now trying to piece this together,” Const. David Hopkinson told CP24. “It is a large scene. We’re talking about the downtown core and Queen Street – one of the busiest streets on a very busy Canada Day weekend.”
The daylight shooting happened on the first day of the long weekend, as Queen Street West was jammed with pedestrians out enjoying the hot weather.
Shocked passersby described a “chaotic” scene in the aftermath of the attack.
“We heard multiple, multiple gunshots. They came in two sets. There was a set of three to four, four to five and then a pause and then another set of literally three to four, four to five,” one man told CP24.
“The scene just turned chaotic. There were people running everywhere, there were vehicles just trying to get out of the way. Down on Peter Street we just saw a mass of tourists – normal Saturday traffic on Queen Street – basically running scared for their lives. It was intense, it was very chaotic.”
One woman who witnessed the shooting from on board a streetcar described the incident as “terrifying.”
“I was scared. I had two panic attacks. Even now I’m shaking,” she said.
The woman said she saw a man in a white shirt get shot before the streetcar driver yelled at people to hit the floor.
“When I heard the first gunshot I looked outside because I was in a streetcar and I saw one guy in a white shirt, a black man, fall to the ground. I saw a black SUV with tinted windows storm off,” the woman said. “Then there was four more gunshots after that and we all went down to the ground as we were instructed by the streetcar driver.
“I’m still in shock, I’m so scared for everyone. I’m hoping that these people get caught because it’s ridiculous with everything going on nowadays, it‘s not funny.”
Another woman said she saw people fleeing in all directions.
“They (bystanders) were running because they didn’t really know where the shots were coming from,” the woman said.
She said she was crying and shaking in the aftermath of the violent incident.
“This is Canada Day weekend. Why are people doing this – I don‘t understand,” she said.
Hopkinson called the daylight shooting “very disturbing.”
“It’s probably one of the busiest sections or streets in the entire city today,” he said. “There’d be hundreds if not thousands of people that could be affected today. For any police officer this is disturbing.”
Homicide detectives have now taken over the case and Hopkinson said investigators are working to gather as much evidence as possible.
“Any kind of video that people might have or might find – we’re talking dashcam video from cars, video from businesses in the area, any kind of video, cellphone -- we would appreciate it if people could contact investigators to try and give them a copy to let them piece together what has happened,” Hopkinson said.
“There’s obviously people who are dangerous to the community,” he added “They’ve shot in broad daylight with lots of pedestrians around. We need to get them off the streets and anything the public can do to help, we appreciate it.”
A large swath of the busy street remains closed off as police investigate the deadly shooting.