Toronto police Det. Rob North told reporters Wednesday that investigators allege the two men who were shot outside the Yorkdale Shopping Centre on Saturday night were both "known members" of a street gang dubbed the "Asian Assassins."
North said the two men had been shopping before they went outside to a car parked in the Yorkdale parking lot, which is when they were attacked.
"Even though this is likely a gang incident, there is no suggestion that the two victims returned fire or did anything to provoke this incident at the mall," North said.
"In my opinion, someone must have known they were at the Yorkdale mall and were waiting outside in the parking lot in ambush for them to return to their motor vehicle."
Michael Nguyen, the 23-year-old Toronto man who was killed, fled the shooting for a short distance before he collapsed. North said he was shot again by the assailants.
A post-mortem has determined that Nguyen died of "multiple gunshot wounds," North said.
The surviving 24-year-old male victim also fled and was shot in the process, but he was rushed to hospital and has survived.
North did not identify the survivor by name, but said that he had been discharged from hospital.
The men were shot about an hour before the mall was set to close on Saturday night. Within hours, dozens of police officers were involved in the investigation, which saw investigators combing the parking lot still filled with hundreds of vehicles.
The incident on the weekend was not the first time a shooting has occurred on the Yorkdale property.
In April 2009, a security guard was shot while attempting to arrest two robbery suspects. He was wearing a safety vest that police credited with saving his life.
The Saturday night shooting came almost 10 months after a shooting at the Toronto Eaton Centre left one man dead at the scene, another fatally wounded and five others wounded as well. Police have alleged that the June 2012 shooting in the basement food court involved members of the same street gang — though investigators say the incident was not gang-motivated.
The presence of the Asian Assassins, also known as the Project Originals, can be found in a downtown Toronto housing complex near Dundas Street West and Spadina Avenue, the CBC's Ivy Cuervo reported.
"I've seen shootings, I've seen people being stabbed. I've seen a lot going on," one resident said.
"There's been gangs in and out. There's been prostitution. We've had it all."