Toronto police say the fatal shooting of two people in an SUV outside a crowded east-end LCBO was a targeted slaying, with one of the victims possibly caught in the crossfire.
Det-Sgt. Gary Giroux said a man was returning from the store and getting into the back of the vehicle when the killer walked up and shot him at close range around 9:50 p.m. Friday near Ellesmere Road and Victoria Park. A woman in the back seat was also hit and killed.
Giroux said it’s believed the man was the intended target, with the woman possibly caught in the gunfire.
Two people in the front of the SUV were unharmed while the vehicle itself was not damaged by the shooting, he said, adding the pair are co-operating with police.
The gunman and another suspect then fled in a silver four-door vehicle, Giroux said Saturday at the scene.
Eyewitness Steve Winkler said he was just leaving the LCBO, which was packed with around 50 people, when “five or six gunshots rang out,” sending the crowd ducking for cover.
“There was chaos and he was right on the ground in front of me,” he said of the male victim, whose body was surrounded by shell casings.
The TTC employee said he ran over and tried to provide CPR, but that the man appeared already dead.
“I think he was killed instantly because when I attended to him his eyes were wide open, there was no pulse.”
A woman seated in the front was frantic, shouting the other victim had been shot, he added.
Winkler said the woman in the back seat was slumped over with a visible gunshot wound to her leg.
He shook her but she didn’t move, Winkler said, leaving him wondering why she was unresponsive with just the thigh wound.
But Winkler said that when paramedics lifted her shirt, he then saw she had been hit multiple times in the chest.
The sudden burst of violence in the busy parking lot left the transit worker stunned.
“I see a lot in my job at the TTC but I’ve never seen that before,” he said.
Police identified the deceased as 26-year-old Toronto resident Joseph Anzolona and 24-year-old Cynthia Mullapudi, of Markham. They were the 27th and 28th homicide victims so far this year.
Investigators are reviewing what they called high-quality surveillance footage from the LCBO and are appealing for witnesses to contact them.