“This is the worst incident of gun violence anywhere in North America. It’s very shocking. A lot of innocent people were injured tonight,” Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said at the scene, his voice wavering.
“Tonight’s event is unprecedented. It’s going to be shocking to everyone in Toronto, to everyone in Canada.”
A suspect was hospitalized and is in police custody, Blair said, addressing the media early Tuesday morning. Police are still looking for other suspects.
Hundreds of young people were outdoors at the barbecue outside 193 Danzig St. when gunfire broke out just before 11 p.m. Monday.
Police say the 21 victims, one a toddler under 3, were rushed to emergency rooms across the city.
“Some of them are very young. Very young,” said Tony Iagallo, an EMS spokesperson.
A teenage girl and a man believed to be in his early 20s, were pronounced dead at the scene, Blair said.
Other victims suffered injuries from trampling and were treated in a paramedic bus.
Witnesses in the residential neighbourhood say they heard six or more shots coming from the barbecue on Danzig St., in the Morningside Ave. and Lawrence Ave. E. area
Ambulances, police cruisers and medical buses lined the street as hundreds of people sat outside their homes. Police dogs prowled the area as officers searched for suspects.
Police requested a paramedic bus to hold the less seriously injured victims.
A handgun was recovered nearby.
Claudia Wilson said her 20-year-old daughter was at the barbecue when the shooting took place.
“Suddenly she was dodging bullets over there,” said Wilson, her daughter crying nearby.
“They were all in one place and all of a sudden the shots were fired, no one knows where they came from.”
One woman reportedly hit by a bullet was carrying a baby.
A woman said her 17-year-old niece was shot in the arm and was in one of the medic buses.
Others in the neighbourhood were shocked and frightened by the chaos.
“I came out and there were bodies and stretchers everywhere,” said one woman on the scene.
Victims range in age from infancy to mid-20s, police said.
“This is senseless. This is ridiculous,” said Sharon Reynolds, who has lived her whole life on the street.
Leighton Robinson said his nephew’s girlfriend, in her early 20s, was shot in the arm.
He said he got a call from his niece and she told him about the injury.
She said, “Uncle Leighton, what’s going on?”
Robinson said he’s lived in Toronto since 1970 and thinks things are getting worse in the city.
“Basically it sickens me. . . . It never used to be this way,” he said. “The new players in the game are playing it wrong.”
Renald Mars heard loud bangs, perhaps six or seven, as he was riding his bike past the area. Then he saw police cruisers roaring by.
“I saw that and thought, ‘Wow, this is serious.’ ”
Some people at the scene expressed anger at what they called the slow response time by the police.
There were six shootings in the 43 Division before Monday’s gunfire, Blair said. These are the city’s 27th and 28th homicides of the year.
This is the second time innocent bystanders were wounded in crossfire in recent weeks. On June 2, several bystanders were hit by rogue bullets after a gunman opened fire in a crowded food court at Toronto's Eaton Centre. One man was killed in that incident and another died of his injuries days later.
Scarborough shootings: Two killed, 19 injured as bullets fly at barbecue - thestar.com