Shots rang out in Toronto's Little Italy, leaving one dead and another injured, as scores of people had gathered to watch a Euro Cup match at a bustling patio.
The shooting took place at The Sicilian Sidewalk Cafe at the corner of College Street and Montrose Avenue.
“All of a sudden we heard five gunshots,” Andrea Dolcetti told CBC News.
She had been watching the Italy-Ireland match when shots rang out.
“It sounded like — first we thought it was broken glass, but then we knew by the fifth one that it wasn't.”
Police locked down the busy stretch, as well as two local schools, while they hunted for a suspect. Students and staff, according to CTV, were allowed to leave the schools shortly after 4:30 p.m. The Toronto Transit Commission diverted the 506 streetcar in both directions for much of the afternoon.
The area between Grace and Crawford streets was shut down for several hours, with a forensics team working at the scene well past midnight.
A description of the suspect was released later in the afternoon. Investigators tweeted they are looking for a man with blonde hair, wearing a white hard hat, safety vest and filter mask, who fled north from the scene.
Police also urged residents to check their property for items that may have been discarded after the shooting.
The Globe and Mail cites a police source claiming the attack appeared targeted as opposed to random, with little danger to the general public.
The scene on College Street, having just ended its Taste of Little Italy festival, was sobering.
"People were standing around looking," local resident Jeff Halperin told The Huffington Post Canada. "People were ducking under the yellow tape."
Soccer fans had clogged the popular stretch between Ossington Avenue and Bathurst Street to see Italy and Ireland square off in an opening round match of the Euro Cup. Even after the shooting, soccer celebrations were a marked contrast with police cruisers and crime tape at the ice cream shop.
It was a scene even police couldn't fail to note. Speaking to reporters near the Sicilian Sidewalk Cafe, Const. Wendy Drummond of Toronto Police Services asked soccer fans to respect the boundaries of the crime scene when they leave the area later today.
It's been a violent start to Toronto's summer, with the CBC reporting, as of June 18, shooting occurrences are up 28.7 per cent from a year ago.
The College Street shooting comes 16 days after gang members were shot dead, and five bystanders wounded inside Toronto's Eaton Centre. One of the injured, a 13-year-old boy,
Christopher Husbands, 23, is charged with one count of first-degree murder and six counts of attempted murder in the shootings.
Police say the shooting wasn't so much gang-related as it was a personal dispute.
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