2 dead, 3 injured after shooting at Muzik nightclub in Toronto
WATCH ABOVE: Police have set up a website in an effort to gather pictures and video from witnesses after a shooting at Muzik nightclub in Toronto. Catherine McDonald reports.
TORONTO — Police are calling the shootings that left two dead and three others injured at Muzik nightclub on Toronto’s Exhibition grounds early Tuesday morning a “brazen, large-scale, on-going firearm incident” that could have resulted in more deaths.
“This was an unfolding live-fire situation. Our officers were present when the initial shots went off,” said Toronto police Deputy Chief Peter Sloly during a press conference Tuesday.
“They were within metres of the initial shooting. They continued to follow up as more firearms were discharged in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.”
Officers responded to 15 Saskatchewan Rd. after gunshots were heard near the Dufferin Gates around 3:20 a.m. Police said they did not return fire.
WATCH: Shooting at Muzik nightclub in Toronto leaves two dead, three others injured
Police said the shooting began inside the Muzik nightclub and spilled out onto the street. Insp. Peter Moreira said responding officers encountered a “crush of people” fleeing the nightclub.
Investigators found a man suffering from a gunshot wound on the patio of the Muzik nightclub, where the OVO Fest after-party was taking place, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Officers then located a man and woman both suffering from gunshot wounds near the club.
Moreira said a third man suffering from a gunshot wound was located at Dufferin Street and College Street after flagging down a responding ambulance.
Police said their injuries ranged from serious to minor and one person has been released from hospital.
A second woman was located north of the Dufferin Gates suffering from a gunshot wound. She was taken to hospital but later died from her injuries.
WATCH: Toronto Police seeking ‘persons of interest’ in Muzik Nightclub shooting
“Literally our officers were running to live-fire incidents,” said Sloly.
“The officer who found the female, now deceased, was seconds behind when she was shot and was able to, in her last breaths, provide CPR and did all he could to keep her alive.”
Moreira said investigators had interviewed numerous people but that it was “an extremely small percentage of the people we know were at the Muzik nightclub that night.”
He added that police were appealing to witnesses to come forward to provide information to investigators.
Investigators said two of the injured people walked into a hospital to get treatment.
The victims’ identities have not been released but police confirm the deceased are in their 20s and 30s. The other three victims are all men.
“We’re absolutely shocked by this horrific attack,” said Zlatko Starkovski, owner of Muzik.
“Our deepest condolences go out to the victims and their families, and we wish a quick recovery to those injured. We are fully cooperating with Toronto Police and have full confidence they will get to the bottom of this horrific incident, and bring these people to justice.”
WATCH: Where were the Muzik nightclub shooting victims located?
Starkovski said Muzik was hosting a special party following the OVO Fest concert at nearby Molson Amphitheatre as part of four days of festivities related to the Caribbean Carnival long weekend.
“The centre was closed at the time of the incident, and the last patrons were exiting the building as gunshots were heard,” he said in a statement.
“Security staff and Toronto Police immediately responded to protect patrons and staff as they were exiting the centre.”
Starkovski said the nightclub was operating under its normal security protocol for this type of event, with 73 professionally trained and provincially-licenced security guards on duty, two staff paramedics, 10 armed Toronto Police officers with two marked cruisers on site.
WATCH: Was woman killed in Toronto nightclub shootings a bystander?
Police have created a website for witnesses to post images or video related to the shootings.
It is not known if Toronto rapper Drake, who was hosting the OVO Fest after-party, was inside the event at the time of the shooting.
Toronto Mayor John Tory responded to the shooting by issuing a statement said he was saddened and angered over the incident.
“This is not the Toronto we know. It is not the Toronto that has been a welcoming safe host for hundreds of thousands already this summer right up to and including this weekend,” he said.
“I am very confident our Toronto Police Service will track down those responsible for this despicable act and ensure they are put away for a long time. There is no place for their violent criminal behaviour in a city which prides itself on how we live together safely and peacefully.”
WATCH: Deputy Chief says ‘adequate’ amount of police at Muzik during shooting
Police said there was adequate security inside the building with officers patrolling the area outside the event grounds.
“Our standard operating procedure is the venue security do all the direct pat down, wanding if there is,” said Sloly.
“And our police officers provide a visibile presence and deal with all other matters around the venue.”
Police said additional officers were called to the scene to control the large crowd but would not speculate on how the firearms initially entered the nightclub.
WATCH: Toronto police comment on Muzik security staff during shooting
“In this case, we can’t determine if the firearm came through the main entrance or the firearm was produced through another venue,” Sloly said.
Police are investigating three different scenes and don’t know how many suspects are involved.
Moreira said investigators are looking for a person of interest related to the scene at the Muzik nightclub described as male, black, 6’0″ to 6’1″, 25 to 26 years old with a fresh buzz cut, light purple crew neck sweater with a colourful design on the front and dark blue jeans.
A second suspect related to the scene north of the Dufferin gates was described as male, brown, 5’10” to 5’11”, skinny build, 24 to 28 years old, wearing a yellow, burgundy plaid button-up shirt.
“We’re satisfied at this point that the organization involved was doing their best and this did occur at approximately 3:30 a.m. as things were shutting down for the evening,” said Bergen.
Meanwhile, authorities said all roads around Muzik nightclub are currently closed for the investigation.
Almost exactly a year ago, one person was shot outside the same nightclub on Aug. 5, 2014.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-7400, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at http://www.222tips.com, text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637), or Leave A Tip on Facebook. Download the free Crime Stoppers Mobile App on iTunes, Google Play or Blackberry App World.
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