Shooting at Toronto bakery injured five males, one female
TORONTO -- Six people were injured early this morning after multiple suspects in a vehicle opened fire at a group standing outside a 24-hour bakery in Toronto's Oakwood-Vaughan neighbourhood.
At around 2 a.m. on Wednesday, Toronto police said a group was huddled together trying to stay out of the rain outside Spence’s Bakery, located on Eglinton Avenue near Allen Road, when suspects in a dark SUV began firing at them.
"(The vehicle) did a U-Turn just east of the location, circled back westbound, slowed down, and the occupants of the vehicle at that time discharged multiple rounds," Supt. Shaun Narine told reporters at police headquarters on Wednesday morning.
Six people, including five males and one female, were struck by the gunfire.
The victims, who range in age from 30 to 69, were transported to hospital for treatment in non-life-threatening condition.
Five of the victims have since been released from hospital and the sixth is expected to be discharged later today, Narine said.
Police could not confirm exactly how many people were in the bakery at the time of the shooting but noted that it was open when the gunshots rang out.
“This was a very brazen shooting at this hour of the night with no regard whatsoever for any kind of safety,” Insp. Tim Crone said at the scene on Wednesday morning. “They shot randomly into a group of people inside the bakery so obviously this was a very serious incident that occurred.”
The owner of Spence’s Bakery, Loxsley Brissett, was in the kitchen at the time of the incident and said all the victims were outside of the bakery but ran inside when the shooting happened.
“I see everybody rush inside and hear the sound of the bullets, so I get up and run down the stairs and we ran underneath the table,’’ Spence said.
Harris Francis owns a business in the area and said he heard loud bangs at the time of the shooting.
“People were on the ground, laying down bleeding until the police came, ambulance [came], then everything was okay,” Francis said.
The number of suspects involved is not known, police said, and there is no description of the suspects available.
"It looked like somebody was identified when the vehicle was driving by," Narine said. "We believe it was somebody in that crowd that would have been targeted."
Road closures are in effect in the area and there is a heavy police presence as officers continue to try to gather witness information and video surveillance footage.
Narine noted that security video recovered at the scene may not be very useful given the heavy rain at the time of the shooting.
He said the incident appears to be gang-related and one or more of the injured victims may have been the intended target.
"Whether young or old, it doesn't matter. All they see is a target now. They get focused on that target and it doesn't matter who is hit as long as they get or they think they've gotten who they intended to shoot at," he said.
"So it is a horrible situation for that people that are there. We are working diligently now to put a dent in the gun and gang violence that is going on throughout the city."
In an interview with CP24 on Wednesday morning, Mayor John Tory said he spoke with the police chief about the shooting shortly after the incident occurred.
“We’re just seeing a continuing problem as we have through the summer with gang activity and the gangs are tied in with gun trafficking, they’re tied into drugs, they’re tied into human trafficking," Tory said.
Premier Doug Ford also weighed in on the overnight gun violence, suggesting that he plans to speak with Tory and the police chief today to discuss the situation.
"It is just unacceptable. We are living in the greatest country in the world, in the greatest province, and we have these gang bangers running around and shooting up the streets," Ford said on Wednesday morning.
"We need to come down on these gang bangers as I always say. We have given the Toronto police $25 million for guns and gangs to go after them and I will be talking to the mayor later today along with the police chief to ask them if there is anything that they need from the province."