17 hurt in a long weekend of gun violence

District 45 shooting

Less than 24 hours after Toronto's police chief addressed a rash of gun violence over the weekend, the number of people hit by bullets has climbed again.

At least 17 people were injured by gunfire over the long weekend.

In a news conferenence on Monday, Chief Mark Saunders suggested this is not the Toronto he knows.

"This is not a normal weekend in the city of Toronto. I do not anticipate in a three day or two day span where I'm going to be talking about 13 people shot. This is not Toronto and rest assured that I'll be providing the resources where they need to be to solve these cases," Saunders said.

At the time, Saunders said their had been 11 seperate shootings with 13 victims.

That number climbed to 12 "separate shootings" and 15 victims after gunfire erupted just before 5 o'clock Monday afternoon.  Police were called to Flemington and Stockton Road in the Lawrence Heights neighbourhood. That's where they found a man with obvious signs of trauma. He was taken to hospital in serious condition. A second victim made it to hospital on their own.

There were two more shootings after that.

There was also  a shooting incident, around 2 a.m. Monday, five people were wounded at District 45 Nightclub located near Keele and Finch.  The club was packed with patrons when shots rang out. There were unconfirmed reports that a total of seven people were wounded, but police tell NEWSTALK 1010 that two additional people with gunshot wounds, who made their own way to hospital, have not been linked to the club shooting. It's still unclear where they suffered their injuries.

Speaking to CP24, one emotional witness spoke of the panic that set in after she lost sight of her friend inside the club.

"It's still shaking me. I didn't know if she was okay. We called her phone. We couldn't get ahold of her. We were looking. We were yelling. I was so scared that something had happened to her, but thank God, she's okay."

Police say one man is in life-threatening condition, four other victims have non-life threatening injuries. 

Toronto Police Inspector Stacey Davis confirmed the shooting took place in the back of the packed nightclub.

"When officers arrived on scene, we located three gunshot victims.There are shell casings that have been located."

Saunders says no suspects have been identified in the nighclub shooting, but he says the case is "solvable.''

"There are more questions than answers with that particular investigation, which is why I'm here. I find it disturbing when you've got over a hundred people and someone would be brazen enough to pull out a gun and start shooting."

He is asking witnesses and anyone with information on this weekend's shooting to come forward to police.

Reports suggest that because the club was running at full capacity, some who tried to get in were turned away.

Police are hopeful surveillance video inside the nightclub may shed some light on the incident.

"We are canvessing for that video right now. I do not have any suspect information."

Then, just after 4 o'clock this morning in downtown Toronto, two people were injured in a shooting near Adelaide and Church Street.

Police are also looking into early morning shooting incidents on Sunday.

Witnesses in Toronto's Bridle Path neighbourhood say they heard gunfire out around 6 a.m. outside a large home that apparently was listed on Airbnb. The company has since suspended the listing. Neighbours say it's been the site of many loud parties before, adding they've complained about it to the city, but the issue was never resolved.

A young man, believed to be in his twenties, was rushed to hospital in life-threatening condition, after suffering a gunshot wound to his upper body. Police tell NEWSTALK1010 he's been upgraded to stable condition. Police are now looking for at least three suspects in that incident.

A few hours earlier - around 3:30 Sunday morning - witnesses say as many as 15 shots rang out outside Forty2 Supperclub in Liberty Village. Police say fortunately no one was hurt.

No arrests have been made in any of these incidents. The investigations are ongoing. 

Toronto Mayor John Tory issuing a statement on the spate of shootings over the long weekend:

"The gun violence we have seen in recent days in our city is absolutely unacceptable.

I know Toronto Police are working non-stop to find those responsible for these shootings and to bring them to justice. I urge anyone with information that could help investigators solve these shootings to call police or Crime Stoppers.

I remain firmly of the belief that a handgun ban will help us address the gun violence we are experiencing in our city and the surrounding region.

I led City Council - joined by other major Canadian cities - in sending a clear message on the need for a ban on handguns, assault rifles and semi-automatic firearms.

This was always put forward as a part of the answer to gun violence together with changes to other laws affecting things like bail, additional support for police, and the paramount need for all three governments to invest together in kids, families and neighbourhoods.

All of these initiatives are much needed if we are to stop the spread of guns, help police crack down on illegal guns and those who have them, and address the root causes of gang and gun activity."

 

With files from The Canadian Press