Two people were killed and 12 others were injured after a man with a handgun opened fire on a bustling avenue in Toronto on Sunday night, the police said. The gunman was later found dead.
Officers confronted the gunman, who was identified only as a 29-year-old man, on a nearby street and exchanged gunfire with him, the authorities said. The gunman ran from the police and was found dead on a street.
One of the two victims killed was a woman, Chief Mark Saunders of the Toronto Police Service said early Monday; no information was available about the other person. A girl, around 8 years old, was in critical condition, Chief Saunders said.
The authorities said they had not identified a motive in the shooting, which started on Danforth Avenue, and the chief said he would not rule out terrorism. The police were seeking information from witnesses and the public. The department’s Special Investigations Unit, which reviews shootings involving the police, was also investigating.
“When you have this many people that are struck by gunfire, it’s a grave concern,” Chief Saunders said. “I’m not closing any doors.”
John Tory, the mayor of Toronto, condemned the shooting in a statement on Twitter, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday morning that his “thoughts are with everyone affected by the terrible tragedy on the Danforth last night in Toronto.”
“The people of Toronto are strong, resilient and brave — and we’ll be there to support you through this difficult time,” Mr. Trudeau said on Twitter.
The Toronto police were called to the corner of Danforth and Logan Avenues, in the city’s Greektown neighborhood, around 10 p.m. Sunday, Mark Pugash, a police spokesman, said.
Andreas Papadopoulos, a bartender at the Greek restaurant Mezes, said the staff initially thought there were fireworks. But a co-worker who went outside to investigate was quickly caught in gunfire. Another co-worker who pulled the person back inside, Mr. Papadopoulos said, was shot in the hand and taken to a hospital.
“There was a whole bunch of commotion,” he said. “There is lots of blood here.”
Restaurants along Danforth Avenue were locked down after the mass shooting.
“The world is definitely in flux, and I don’t care where you live, you’re not safe anywhere anymore,” said John Klianis, who was working at Pappas Grill when he heard gunfire.
Media reports said about 20 shots had been fired in the area.
Gun violence is much rarer in Canada than it is in the United States. But the number of shootings in Toronto has doubled in recent years, according to data from the Toronto Police Service. The city had 177 shootings in 2014 and 395 in 2017, and is on pace to surpass that mark this year.
In April, 10 people were killed in Toronto when the driver of a rental van struck dozens of pedestrians on a sidewalk. The man accused of driving the van had posted a message hostile to women online only moments before the rampage began, the police said.
Last year, Canada was shaken by a shooting at a mosque in Quebec that left six dead and eight others wounded in what Mr. Trudeau quickly labeled a “terrorist attack on Muslims.”
“We have a gun problem,” Mr. Tory said at Monday’s news conference.
“It’s almost inconceivable that these things can happen,” he said. “It’s a tragedy any which way you look at it.”
Matthew Haag contributed reporting.
Orignially published in NYT.