Toronto police are searching for at least one suspect after a Saturday evening shooting in the Eaton Centre left one man dead and seven others injured.
Const. Victor Kwong said the shooting took place in a busy lower-level food court, adding that one male victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
Kwong listed the genders and conditions of all eight victims and the ages of three, which are as follows:
- Male, 25, dead
- Male, 20, critical condition
- Male, 13, critical condition
- Female, no age given, serious condition
- Male, no age given, serious condition
- Female, no age given, serious condition
- Pregnant female, no age given, went into labour after being knocked down
- Female, no age given, grazed by bullet
Toronto police chief Bill Blair, who called the shooting "outrageous," told a group of reporters that officers are in the early stages of their investigation and that what they share with the public is likely to change.
"I want my officers to have the time to gather all of the evidence," said Blair, adding that investigators will obtain footage from security cameras in the mall and speak to witnesses that come forward.
"The wanton disregard for the lives and safety of fellow citizens [is] shocking to us," he said.
Blair added that most of the other victims — including the young boy — were likely innocent bystanders. The only exception is likely the man who was killed, he said.
"The nature of those wounds do indicate that that individual was targeted," he said.
One reporter asked if Blair was reminded of the Boxing Day 2005 shooting death of Jane Creba, 15, which took place nearby on Yonge Street.
"Today harkens back to that terrible moment," Blair said. "This is a very serious thing that has happened in a public place in Toronto."
"I believe that every Torontonian is shocked and appalled by this terrible crime."
Father learned of son's injuries online
Chris Kalakonis told CBC News he found out his son Nick was shot in the leg from a Facebook message.
The young man, who lost his phone in the chaos, was shot while lying on the floor, he said. His girlfriend sent a Facebook message to inform his family after the 6:30 p.m. ET shooting.
At first Kalakonis didn't believe his son had been shot, but when he turned on a television he realized it could be true. He called nearby St. Michael's Hospital and confirmed that his son had been shot in the leg.
Kalakonis called the situation "senseless," but added he's grateful things didn't end up worse.
Ford, McGuinty extend sympathies
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford spoke to reporters outside the Eaton Centre at about 9:30 p.m.
"As soon as I heard the news I got in my car," he said. "This incident tonight is absolutely terrible. We want to make sure these people are apprehended and arrested."
Ford expressed particular concern over the 13-year-old boy in critical condition, who Blair said was with his family when he was shot.
"It really pulls on my heart strings when you hear something like that," Ford said, adding that he had spent the afternoon coaching football players around the boy's age.
"I really hope the young man pulls through."
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty also extended his sympathies to those affected by the shooting.
"The victim and those who were injured are particularly in Ontarians' thoughts and prayers right now as we attempt to make sense of this instance of senseless, tragic violence in the heart of a peaceful city," he said in a statement.
"I know I speak for all Ontarians when I say that while we are saddened and shocked by today's events, we will respond as we always have — with strength, determination and a desire to work together, and work even harder, to build communities that are safe, secure and free of gun violence."
Police hunt for suspect
"At this time we do not have the shooter," said Const. Kwong. Investigators have not yet released their description of the suspect, nor clarified whether they are looking for more than one person.
Kwong said police received conflicting reports and are still reviewing multiple videos submitted by the public.
Blair added that police would remain in the mall for as long as it takes to do a thorough investigation, and that his officers were prepared to be "relentless" in their efforts.
Chaos erupted in food court
Witnesses who were in the food court when the shooting began told CBC's Amanda Margison that shoppers abandoned everything from strollers to purses as they fled. Others hid beneath tables until police ordered a full evacuation.
"It was unbelievable…It was out of the blue," said Marcus Neves-Polonio who was working in the mall's food court when he saw a man pull out a gun and start firing.
"As soon as I heard the gunshots, I ducked under the table."
One employee in a noodle store told Margison she heard at least five gunshots, as she and several others ran into the storage room and locked themselves inside.
"All of a sudden a herd of people were just running toward us, a massive crowd of people screaming, running, freaking out," said Hannah Stewart, who was shopping in the mall at the time.
"We saw this girl, sitting on the ground, and she had blood on her toes."
That girl appeared to have been one of the victims and told Stewart she had just been shot. At that point, police poured into the centre and began herding people outside.
"All these cops came running up and they started screaming at us to back off," Stewart said. "They were screaming at us to run and get out."
The shopping centre was surrounded by emergency vehicles after the shooting, as police cordoned off the section of Yonge Street between Queen and Dundas streets.
"When violence like this takes place in our city, we all have to stand up and say we won't tolerate it," said Blair.
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