Police deem downtown Toronto condo shooting ‘accidental discharge’

Downtown Toronto condo shooting raises Airbnb concerns
WATCH ABOVE: As Toronto police investigate a shooting in a condo building downtown, residents and critics of short term rentals are calling out so-called ghost hotels over a lack of regulation. Caryn Lieberman explains.

Toronto police say a shooting inside a condo building in downtown Toronto that put a man in his 20s in hospital was a case of an “accidental discharge.”

Police responded to a call around 3 a.m. Friday at 12 York Street near Bremner Boulevard and Lake Shore Boulevard.

“Our officers arrived on scene fairly quickly. They did find a man suffering from gunshot wounds. His injuries were very serious,” Const. David Hopkinson said.

“When our officers got there, he was found in the lobby.”

Toronto paramedics said a male victim was transported to hospital. Police said he is in stable condition.

READ MORE: Police searching for 2 suspects wearing masks after downtown Toronto shooting

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Police said the man was shot inside a 16th floor Airbnb rental unit where a gathering was taking place. A portion of the condo building lobby was also cordoned off by police tape.

Thorben Wieditz with FairBnb – a coalition lobbying Toronto to regulate how short-term rentals work – said he’s heard of issues with Airbnbs in 12 York.

“You end up with parties that over pill in the hallways that damage the condo buildings [and] keep people awake,” he said, adding there’s a possibility that about half of the condos in the building could be Airbnb rentals.

“Everyone just walks in and out freely. Nobody at the desk checks, even when there’s a lineup of people outside who clearly don’t live there.”

An Airbnb spokesperson said in a statement the company is working with police.

READ MORE: Airbnb creating new tier of rentals that will see properties inspected by staff

“The safety of our community is our priority and we are urgently investigating this incident and are working with local law enforcement to understand what happened and if an Airbnb guest or host was involved,” Lindsey Scully wrote.

“There have been over 400 million guest arrivals in Airbnb listings to date and negative incidents are extremely rare.”

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New regulations were set to come into effect in the city last summer but challenges caused a delay – now it is under appeal, which could delay the process until summer 2019.

The regulations would have banned anyone from renting out of a home, or part of one, that is not their principal residence for less than 28 days.

“We came up with a regulatory framework that would have prevented these types of problematic and dangerous incidents from coming forward,” said Coun. Joe Cressy.

“We did our part at the city and it’s now time, in my opinion, for Air BnB to do its part and abide by the regulations whether there’s an appeal under way or not.”

Police said they are no longer searching for suspects.

“Whether they are suspects or not, the running makes it suspicious and our investigators will like to speak to them,” Hopkinson said.

Anyone with information is urged to contact police.

–With files from Caryn Lieberman

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