TORONTO – Toronto police now say the victim of a shooting in Cabbagetown on Thursday had grabbed an elderly woman and had used her as a shield against the gunfire.
Police found the victim outside an seniors’ apartment building at 55 Bleecker St., near Carlton and Sherbourne streets, around 11:30 p.m. He was shot multiple times.
The victim, Nixon Nirmalendran, 21, was rushed to hospital, where he later died.
It’s also been learned that Nirmalendran was the brother of one of the two victims of the Eaton Centre shooting in June 2012.
According to police, the gunman chased Nirmalendran into 55 Bleecker St. and cornered him inside the front doors. As the gunman opened fire, Nirmalendran continuously ducked behind a woman who was passing by.
“As she’s entering the premise, there’s a sound of gunfire that erupts, and the resident is used somewhat as a shield, as this shooting is going on,” Det. Sgt. Terry Browne told reporters, Friday.
“It certainly looks as though the resident was placed in harms way to protect the intended target,” he added. “It is absolutely disturbing to see this type of activity taking place. Number one: It is a seniors residence – wanton disregard for life.”
Police said the woman, a resident of the building, was very lucky because there were bullets flying and glass shattering through the lobby, a place where residents often gather.
“Given the hour of day, we were very fortunate there wasn’t more pedestrian activity. We’re very lucky that no one else was injured,” said Browne. “There were bullets flying, and as we’ve seen, glass was being shattered.”
Police have good-quality security video of the violence, while Browne said part of the investigation will concern whether this incident was retaliation for the Eaton Centre shooting.
No arrests have been made.