Witnesses of a Toronto shooting that sent five teenagers to hospital described hearing a volley of gunshots and screaming during the violent incident.
The gunfire broke out at a low-rise apartment building on Clearview Heights near Trethewey Drive.
Police Chief Mark Saunders said the attack took place at about 7:30 p.m. when two people opened fire in a building hallway.
“I’m feeling scared,” said Alex Campbell, who was putting his son to bed when the shooting happened. He said he heard around 20 shots.
“I saw a group of people outside and there was a lot of screaming, a lot of yelling,” added Katebe Kidd, who also lives in the building.
Kidd told CBC Toronto she had just arrived home after work before the shooting started.
“One girl had been shot in the bum and I carried her to the ambulance,” she added.
The victims, two girls and three boys, range in age from 16 to 18.
Police say all five are expected to survive. One of the victims required surgery as a result of the injuries.
Saunders described the shooting as a “targeted attack” while speaking to reporters at the scene on Wednesday evening.
He said officers are searching for three suspects. Investigators said they found around 20 shell casings at the scene.
“There is the concern of retribution and so if there is going to be any type of retribution, then that would add to our count and that is something that is concerning,” said Saunders.
Police are now investigating a second shooting that took place near Harding Avenue and Jane Street, around 2.5 kilometres from the Wednesday shooting. A 29-year-old male was seriously injured in that incident.
Police said it was too soon to say if the shootings were connected, but they will investigate the possibility.
“Obviously that is something that we will take a very hard look at,” said Det.-Sgt. Jim Gotell.
Shootings on record pace
It has been a violent year in Toronto, with the city on pace to set a new record for total shootings, according to police statistics that date to 2004.
There have been 395 shootings so far this year, and 582 shooting victims.
In 2018, there were 428 shootings and 613 victims.
Mayor John Tory has repeatedly called for a city-wide handgun ban as Toronto grapples with the rise in shootings, while Saunders has said he would support any initiatives that result in fewer handguns on the city’s streets.
The incoming Liberal government has said it will allow municipalities to enforce handgun bans as part of a crackdown on gun crime.