Two dead, three others injured after shooting outside restaurant in Chinatown
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Sunday, January 31, 2016 6:20AM EST
Last Updated Sunday, January 31, 2016 2:47PM EST
Two males are dead and three others were shot after gunfire erupted outside a restaurant in Chinatown overnight.
The shooting happened near New Ho King restaurant in the area of Spadina Avenue and Nassau Street at around 3:15 a.m.
Police said a group of men were involved in an altercation in the area when one suspect opened fire, wounding five people.
According to homicide Det.-Sgt. Mike Carbone, one man was pronounced dead at the scene while four others were taken to hospital suffering from gunshot wounds. One of the victims transported to hospital died from his injuries a short time later.
Details are limited and investigators have not yet released a suspect description.
"If we develop any type of suspect information that we think is suitable for release, we will certainly do so," Carbone added.
When asked if the shooting could be gang-related, Carbone said the investigation is still in the preliminary stages.
"That is certainly something we would explore as a result of conducting the work that we do but it is very, very early to tell," he said.
Two of the victims being treated in hospital appear to have been bystanders, a source told CTV News.
Investigators are canvassing the area for any possible witnesses and video surveillance footage.
"I would encourage that if anyone has any video, to let us know," Carbone added.
Spadina Avenue was closed from College to Dundas streets for several hours as forensic officers search for evidence but the area has since reopened.
Police said they will release the names of those killed in the shooting after next-of-kin has been notified.
'This is not a blip,' McCormack says of spike in gun violence:
This morning's incident bring the total number of shooting occurences in 2016 to 35 and the number of shooting victims to 49.
"There is a big increase in gun violence, in shootings. We are up over 100 per cent from last year," Mike McCormack, president of the Toronto Police Association, told CP24 Sunday.
"We’ve been talking about this for a long time. We’ve been saying that there is an increase in gun violence. This is not a blip, these are not isolated incidents. This is clearly a trend."
McCormack said the brazen nature of the recent shootings is also concerning to police officers in the city .
"We had a bystander shot on King Street by a stray bullet. This is getting more and more brazen and we are very concerned about public safety," he said.
"This is happening in public places now."
Tory says gun violence linked to gang activity:
Mayor John Tory told reporters Sunday morning that he spoke to Police Chief Mark Saunders today about the recent rash of gun violence in the city.
"I think it is important that people should understand what’s going on here. We have some gang activity in the city where these gangs are engaged in retaliatory activity on each other as part of conflicts they are having in the city and it means that while you don’t take it any less seriously, the activity that we are seeing here that has such unsettling consequences is activity that is confined largely to those gangs," the mayor said.
"Chief Saunders has assured me this morning that they are working to gather the evidence and apprehend the people that are involved in this gang activity and to bring them to justice and bring them in to custody as soon as they possibly can."