A shooting occurred in Toronto’s Greektown district on the evening of July 22nd. In total there 14 victims, there was one fatality – a young girl of 8 or 9 years of age, the other 13 were injured.
Canadian media have shared a video clip showing a white man, wearing a dark cap and dark clothing, carrying a shoulder bag. The man stops on the pavement, takes out a handgun and opens fire targeting civilians seemingly at random. The attack happened on Danforth Avenue, on a Sunday evening. At that moment, the area was crowded with people, Mail newspaper reports.
BBC reports that the shooting targeted a restaurant, however the motive is currently unclear. The shooter was shot and killed in an exchange of shots. CBC reports that it is still unclear how the shooter died. Officers did, in fact, exchange shots and no officers were harmed in the shooting. Toronto police are currently looking for witnesses.
CBC also reports that police spokesman Mark Pugash, on early July 23rd has stated that the condition of the other victims is still unknown. He also noted that it is too early to claim that the shooting was terrorism.
Some of the victims of the shooting were treated on the scene, while others were moved to hospital where they were treated.
Toronto’s mayor John Tory is quoted by CBC saying that the shooting happened in “very peaceful part of the Danforth.” He also believes that Sunday night’s shooting in a busy and popular residential area, known for its restaurants and cafés is “evidence of a gun problem” in Toronto. “Guns are too readily available to too many people,” Tory told reporters during a news conference two hours after the shooting took place.
This past weekend, Toronto police deployed dozens of additional officers to deal with a recent spike in gun violence in the city. Toronto police data show the number of shootings in the city more than doubled between 2014 and 2017 – from 177 to 395. So far, in 2018, Telegraph reports that more than 200 shootings have occurred in Toronto. Nearly two dozen of them have included fatalities, while city officials blame gang violence for the crime surge.
Despite mass shootings being much more common in the US there seems to be an increase in them in Toronto, and Canada as statistics from the Ottawa summit on guns and gangs from March 2018 shows. There has been an increase in gun violence in countries such as Sweden, a study Joakim Sturup, published online on May 7th, 2018 shows. After the recent shooting and killing of a young man by the police in Nantes, France, which led to several days of riots, the focus on gun-related violence in France has also entered the spotlight. In an article by the Washington Post, gun violence is compared between the US and countries such as Australia, Germany and the UK, all countries with strict gun control. Washington Post is conclusive that there are far less gun-related incidents in most other countries than there are in the US. The article, however, quotes Jaclyn Schildkraut, another researcher who tracks mass shooting news coverage in saying that some mass shootings in countries other than the US may be registered as terrorist attacks, whereas in the US they could be registered as shootings.