A mass shooting in one of the city’s most popular neighbourhoods has left residents in disbelief.
Two people were killed, including a woman, and 12 others were injured, including a young girl who is in critical condition, on the Danforth late Sunday night.
There has been no word on a possible motive behind the shooting, which happened on Danforth Avenue near Logan Avenue around 10 p.m. A short time later, the gunman exchanged fire with police officers, though no officers were injured. It is not yet clear if the suspect died as a result of the standoff or if it was a self-inflicted injury.
Sam Kochany lives and works in the Danforth neighbourhood and said the incident has left him in shock.
“It’s unfathomable … it’s just shocking. When you see that many cops coming through, you don’t know what to think,” he said.
“I just came up out of the basement and realized something was going on horribly .. some people said they heard gunshots.”
Kochany called his girlfriend, who was inside their home at the time, and told her to stay inside. She said she’s in disbelief.
“We’ve been here for two years, this is one of the safest neighbourhoods. I love the community feel. I love how family oriented it is … you read this stuff happening in other parts of the city and you think ‘never, never on the Danforth’ and now it’s here and it’s messed up,” she explained.
Helen, who doesn’t want her last name published, also lives on The Danforth and said the scene was “chaos.”
“Now that it’s happened here on the Danforth, like THE Danforth … I don’t know what’s going to happen. I think a lot of people are afraid,” she said.
“I know they’re going to have the Taste of the Danforth here in August and I’m already hearing people say “I don’t know if I’m going to attend.'”
But, Howard Lichtman, spokesperson for Greektown on the Danforth BIA, said the Taste of the Danforth will still go on.
“This wasn’t aimed at the Danforth. The Danforth is safe today, it’ll be safe during the festival,” he said.
“The city is pretty strong, resilient and defiant. It doesn’t change the lives that are lost, but I’m pretty sure the people will be here because that’s the kind of city that we are.”
Lichtman said understands the devastation people are feeling this morning.
“For the people here, this is their home, the entire street is their home, not just their houses. That’s the kind of neighbourhood that it is,” he explained.
Mary Fragedakis, who is is the city councillor for Toronto-Danforth, took to social media to express her sadness over the “despicable act.”
“Here on the Danforth tonight, my heart and prayers go out to the victims and their loved ones,” she tweeted.
“Words cannot express my sadness over this despicable act. Thanks to all the first responders and medical teams.
Several other politicians also turned to social media with similar sentiments.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted his thoughts to the victims and said “The people of Toronto are strong, resilient and brave.”
“My thoughts are with the #Danforthshooting victims, the survivors and their families. My heartfelt gratitude is with the first responders and their life-saving efforts.” Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam wrote.
“Tonight, a despicable act has been perpetrated on the Danforth in our city. On behalf of all Toronto residents, I am outraged that someone has unleashed such a terrible attack on our city and people innocently enjoying a Sunday evening,” Mayor John Tory tweeted.
“My heart is with the victims, their loved ones, and all those near the #Danforth tonight impacted by this horrific violence. Thank you to life-saving police and paramedics. If you are a potential witness, please contact @TorontoPolice. #Danforthshooting,” Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath tweeted.
Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh tweeted that he was “totally devastated by the news out of the Danforth.”
Canadian actor William Shatner also took to social media to express his condolences to the victims of the shooting.
“Suits” actor Patrick J. Adams, who was born in Toronto, tweeted his reaction shortly after reports of the shooting surfaced.
“Another night of senseless loss and brutality in my home town. Praying that some of these reported injuries from the shooting don’t turn into fatalities. Thank you to all the officers and doctors working hard tonight to deal with the aftermath. #danforth”
Actress and screenwriter Nia Vardalos, whose smash-hit movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding was filmed largely in the Danforth neighbourhood, also tweeted her condolences.