Toronto real estate broker identified as victim of deadly shooting inside downtown restaurant
Codi Wilson and Joshua Freeman, CTV News Toronto
Published Sunday, September 17, 2017 6:38AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, September 17, 2017 11:57PM EDT
A 54-year-old Toronto real estate broker has been identified by police as the man shot and killed inside a restaurant in the city’s Entertainment District on Saturday night.
Police say 54-year-old Simon Giannini was gunned down shortly before 9 p.m. inside Michael’s on Simcoe, a steakhouse located in the area of Simcoe and Adelaide streets.
Speaking to reporters Sunday, homicide Det. Shannon Dawson said the shooting appears to be a “targeted” attack.
Dawson said a lone gunman walked into the restaurant and approached Giannini, who was dining with one other person.
The suspect then opened fire, shooting Giannini multiple times.
Giannini was rushed to a trauma centre without vital signs and was later pronounced dead.
No other injuries were reported.
Investigators say they believe the male suspect fled the area westbound on Pearl Street in a white SUV.
A detailed suspect description has not been provided but Dawson said the man was wearing a hooded jacket and his face was covered at the time of the deadly shooting.
“We are asking that any witnesses or people who were at the bar or in the area on that evening who didn’t come to speak with us come forward,” she said.
“It was a busy restaurant. I’m sure it was very frightening for the customers who were at the restaurant and that is why we think many of them may have fled very quickly and perhaps those people haven’t had a chance to speak to us.”
Police are still in the process of collecting video surveillance footage from the entire area, Dawson added.
“We are also looking for any video surveillance in the area and if anybody had any dash cam that may have captured anything along Simcoe Street or Pearl Street,” she said.
A motive for the attack is not yet known.
Dawson said police do not believe the incident is in any way connected to another shooting inside the restaurant almost two years ago.
On Sept. 20, 2015, two masked men walked into the restaurant on a Sunday night and shot a man and a woman who were sitting down to eat. Both victims survived.
Michael Dabic, the owner of Michael’s on Simcoe, told CP24 Saturday he’s shocked that another shooting occurred inside his restaurant.
He added that his daughter was among the approximately 150 people inside the restaurant when the incident took place on Saturday night.
Friends in shock
Speaking with CP24 Sunday, friends and colleagues said they were shocked to learn that a man they described as extremely friendly and well-liked had met such a violent end.
“Simon was extremely loved and respected by everyone. This is a huge, huge, huge shock,” said Lamia Charlebois, a friend who met Giannini through real estate.
“I hope the public circus will not cast a shadow on a man that has an impeccable reputation. He did not deserve this tragic end,” she said.
Charlebois described her friend as a man who would light up a room with his wit, intelligence and generosity.
She said he loved Toronto and knew the city well and could often be found exploring Lake Ontario by boat.
Giannini leaves two young sons behind, as well as his mother and sisters.
Charlebois said friends are shocked and clueless as to why anyone would have wanted to harm Giannini.
“We don’t want that any shadow is cast on his reputation because there is no indication in his past or his present that would bring on this sudden death,” she said, urging anyone with information to contact police.
Vijayan Krishnan, who worked at the same brokerage as Giannini described him as “a very passionate guy, very humble and very friendly,” who was always smiling.
“It’s a great and huge loss not just to our office, but to his family and friends and his clients as well,” Krishnan said.
Giannini also briefly hosted a program about real estate on a local radio station in fall of last year.