The mass shooting that left two victims dead and a dozen injured late Sunday happened in the middle of Toronto’s vibrant Greek neighbourhood, where locals are gearing up for their signature “Taste of the Danforth” festival.
Ontario’s police watchdog identified the shooter as 29-year-old Faisal Hussain of Toronto, who was found dead after exchanging gunfire with police after the shooting.
The neighbourhood boasts the largest Greek community in the city, with dozens of culturally-inspired restaurants, trendy cafes and boutique shops centred around Danforth Avenue, between Broadview and Pape avenues. Many of the street signs include Greek translations alongside their English names.
Community organizers shut down this stretch of the road for one weekend each August to host Taste of the Danforth, one of Toronto’s largest cultural festivals. The vehicle-free street is transformed into a festival space for food trucks, concert stages, vendors and a wide range of Greek-inspired fare.
Organizers were expecting approximately 1.6 million visitors to this year’s event, which is slated to run from Aug. 10-12.
The brutal events of Sunday night occurred roughly midway along this stretch, near the Chester subway station. It was, by all accounts, a busy night on the Danforth. Torontonians were out in force enjoying a mild evening after a day of rain.
Police were called to the intersection of Danforth Avenue and Logan Avenue shortly before 10 p.m. on Sunday for a report of gunfire.
Witnesses at the scene reported that a gunman, dressed in black and wearing a hat, opened fire and struck a woman at the northeast corner of the intersection, near a fountain in Alexander the Great Parkette. The suspect shot the woman at close range, then shot her again after she fell, witnesses say.
WATCH BELOW: Witness describes seeing Danforth gunman ‘execute’ woman point-blank
The suspect then walked approximately 180 metres west to Caffe Demetre, on the north side of the street.
WATCH BELOW: Suspected gunman captured on camera firing into restaurant
Witnesses say he opened fire on patrons inside the popular cafe, shattering the front glass window. One witness said the suspect was screaming during the attack.
It’s unclear how many of the people who were injured in the attack were struck at this location.
WATCH BELOW: All five shooting victims remain in serious condition at St. Michael’s Hospital
The suspect continued to walk westward through a densely-packed area of the Danforth. The gunman was zig-zagging from one side of the street to the other, one witness told Global News.
Gunfire shatters the window of a Second Cup on the south side of Danforth, at the corner of Hampton Avenue. Bullet casings are later found nearby.
WATCH BELOW: Witnesses describe shooting in Toronto’s Greektown
Multiple witnesses at the Auld Spot Pub, at Danforth and Jackman Avenue, say the suspect opened fire just a few metres away, sending people scrambling for cover at the back of the restaurant. The owner of a nearby tattoo parlor, Skin Deep, told the Toronto Star that she heard the shots and then two injured victims began banging on her front door, begging to be let in.
The gunman walked further west, and apparently veered off the main drag onto Bowden Street, a residential roadway that runs south-west from Danforth.
Police caught up to him on Bowden and gunfire is exchanged, according to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU).
WATCH BELOW: Police confirm handgun was used in Danforth shooting
The suspect fled back toward Danforth Avenue where he is found dead a short time later, approximately 500 metres from where the first shooting occurred. It’s unclear if his wounds were self-inflicted or the result of police gunfire.
An SIU van is later seen parked on Danforth, between Bowden and Playter Boulevard.
Police set up a barrier at Broadview Avenue and Danforth, a few hundred metres west of where the suspect was found dead. Another barrier is set up at Pape Avenue to the east.
At approximately 1 a.m., onlookers in the area are told to stay clear while police detonate a package. A loud bang is heard a short time later.
WATCH BELOW: Aerial view of Greektown shows police tape across the scene
Many bystanders remain holed up in businesses for at least an hour after the detonation.
Several intersections were cordoned off for the police investigation overnight and into the next morning. Subway service bypassed Chester Station, near where the incident occurred.
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