Woman, 18, girl, 10, killed in mass shooting in Toronto’s Danforth
Police said 16 people were shot in total, eight men and eight women, including the alleged gunman, who investigators said was a 29-year-old man killed following an exchange of gunfire with police.
The 18-year-old woman was identified on Monday as Reese Fallon.
Chief Mark Saunders said during a news conference Monday afternoon that the names of the victims, ranging from 10 to 59 years of age, will not be released at this time.
Authorities said they received calls of a shooting near Danforth and Logan Ave. just after 10 p.m.
Saunders said early Monday that police arrived at the scene and quickly identified the suspect, who was armed with a handgun. An exchange of gunfire ensued, and Saunders said the shooter died of gunshot wounds.
The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), an independent agency that investigates police-involved incidents resulting in death and serious injury, identified the suspect Monday afternoon as Toronto resident Faisal Hussain.
Police did not say whether Hussain was shot by police or if it was self-inflicted. An autopsy is scheduled on Tuesday.
“The investigation itself is very fluid. It is very new. It’s going to take some time and because of that I’m certainly not going to invite any type of speculation,” Saunders said.
The SIU said the suspect was walking along Danforth when he fired shots at groups of people.
SIU spokesperson Monica Hudon said during a news conference on Monday that the shooter exchanged gunfire with two police officers on Bowden Street, then fled the area and was pronounced dead a short distance away on the Danforth.
“I can tell you that the SIU retrieved a firearm. What type? I can’t get into specifics,” Hudon said.
Dr. Najma Ahmed, a trauma surgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital, said on Monday they received five patients, three of whom underwent “immediate, lifesaving surgeries.” The injuries of the victims range from serious to critical condition.
Dr. Paul Hannam, chief of emergency medicine at Michael Garron Hospital, said seven patients were brought to the hospital. He said two of those people had gunshot wounds. Hannam said two of the seven patients remain in hospital, and both are listed in stable condition.
Meanwhile, a statement by Sunnybrook Hospital said they received three shooting victims. Their conditions are unknown.
A video of the incident posted to social media shows the alleged gunman walking up a sidewalk, before turning and firing his weapon. The video is expected to be a key component in the police investigation.
Eyewitness Andreas Mantzios told Global News that the gunman shot the woman dead as she was trying to run away, and shot her multiple times while she was down. Mantzios, who was having coffee with friends when the incident began, said he saw other people struck by gunfire, and blood everywhere.
“Yeah, it was horrible. You don’t expect this on Danforth of all places,” he said.
“But the guy … had this look on his face, while I saw his profile, like he was screaming at something and shooting.”
WATCH: Video shows alleged gunman in Toronto’s Greektown shooting (WARNING: Disturbing content)
Immediately following the shooting, Saunders pleaded for members of the public to come forward with any information about what happened.
“The biggest reason that I’m here is I’m making an appeal. We’re looking for anyone that saw anything,” he said.
“This is critical because what happens is a lot of times people will tend to vet out their information when in fact it can be extremely important to our investigation.”
WATCH: Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders provides updates on Danforth Avenue shooting
Saunders said the investigation is in the early stage and it’s too early to speculate on the motive.
“It’s way too early to relate it to anything, it would not serve justice well,” he said.
“These investigations, with speed of info being released … dealing with the homicide investigation, it doesn’t move that fast. The moment you close things early, you compromise it.”
Police said they are investigating the shootings along the Danforth while the SIU is looking into the exchange of gunfire between the suspect and police.
“It is a bit of a dance between the two entities. We’ve got the substantive murder investigation, plus the shootings,” Saunders said.
“There has to be some work in concert, realizing I’ve got so many boots on the ground looking at capturing video evidence which will help give us a bigger snapshot of how things happened.”
Authorities are asking anyone with video footage or witness accounts to access a newly created Toronto police website portal.
WATCH: Witness describes moments gunshots rang out in Toronto’s Greektown
Toronto Mayor John Tory called the shooting an “unspeakable and incomprehensible” incident, and reiterated Saunders’ plea for any members of the public who were in the area to come forward with information.
Tory said there were many people in the area — which is home to several restaurants and bars — at the time of the shooting. He urged anyone with cellphone video, dash camera video or eyewitness information to reach out to police.
Tory appealed for calm, and urged Torontonians to avoid jumping to conclusions about what happened.
“Please don’t draw any conclusions, please wait for the police to do their job,” he said.
The mayor addressed city council on Monday and said he will be reaching out to both the federal and provincial governments to help find solutions to the gun problem plaguing Toronto.
“There are far too many people carrying around guns in our city and our region who should not have them,” Tory said.
“You’ve heard me ask the question why anybody would need to buy 10 or 20 guns which they can lawfully do under the present laws. That leads to another question. We need to discuss why is anyone in this city need to have a gun at all? And I know even answering that question won’t fully eliminate tragedies like this but even if we can prevent one of these incidents, then it is in my view a discussion worth having and having very soon.”
City council held a moment of silence and adjourned their morning session until the afternoon out of respect for the victims of the shooting.
VIDEO: Premier Doug Ford says Toronto ‘in shock’ following shooting on Danforth
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he has been briefed by public safety officials and will continue to monitor the situation closely.
“Unlike so many other places, we’ve always been confident that this is a safe city. Today, for too many, this confidence is shaken. But I want the people of Toronto to know that our entire province is behind you,” Ford said in an address to provincial members of parliament at the Ontario legislature Monday morning.
LISTEN: Premier Doug Ford on the Danforth shooting
“What happened last night is tragic and it should be a cause for anger. It reminds us that the status quo is not good enough. We must do everything we can to bring criminals to justice while preventing other potential shootings.”
Peter Tabuns, the MPP for the Danforth riding, called the shooting a “despicable act of violence” but maintained the community will come together to support one another.
“The Danforth is a wonderful community. It’s been a safe home to families for many generations and that is exactly what it will remain,” Tabuns said.
“We are a unified and loving community and we will find answers together. We will offer each other strength and understanding together and we will heal together.”
WATCH: Trudeau sends support in wake of Toronto Danforth shooting
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement on Twitter Monday morning calling the incident a “terrible tragedy” and referenced the strength and resilience of the people of Toronto.
“The people of Toronto are strong, resilient and brave – and we’ll be there to support you through this difficult time,” Trudeau wrote.
A Danforth Avenue-area resident tweeted a video in which gunshots can be heard.
Witnesses told Global News that some people were still holed up in pubs and restaurants as of 1:50 a.m. early Monday morning, nearly four hours after the shooting was first reported.
Sunday night’s mass shooting comes almost three months after the van attack in the city’s North York area, which left 10 dead.
“We were so used to living in a city where these things didn’t happen… we thought they didn’t happen here, or couldn’t or shouldn’t,” said Tory.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims issued a statement Monday evening in response to the shooting, calling it a “horrific act of violence.”
“We are shocked and angered by this shooting attack in Toronto,” the statement said.
“There can be no justification for such acts of brutal violence. We urge everyone to wait for the police investigation to provide answers about this devastating situation before speculating about motive.”
Toronto police said Danforth Avenue between Broadview and Pape avenues reopened after 5:30 p.m. on Monday. The TTC said Chester subway station reopened at around the same time.
The Toronto police homicide squad is appealing to witnesses, area residents and local businesses who have photos, video or any information to contact homicide investigators at (416) 808-5504 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.
Anyone who was impacted by the shooting and needs someone to talk to can call Victim Services Toronto at 416-808-7066.
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