Police have yet to lay out exactly what led to the shooting deaths of two people in Toronto early Tuesday morning, but say the violence started a nightclub hosting Drake's OVO Fest afterparty. A man and a woman were killed and three other people were wounded and one victim has already been released from hospital.
Mid-afternoon, Toronto homicide Inspector Peter Moreira updated reporters about what police know so far about the violent events in and around the Muzik nightclub on the grounds of Exhibition Place. He said they are now looking for two men in their mid-twenties, calling them "persons of interest." One man is under suspicion for the initial gunfire that led to one death on the nightclub's patio, while the other is sought in connection with the subsequent shooting north of the Dufferin Gate, which killed a young woman. Police didn't come out and exactly say it, but they painted a picture of the woman being an innocent bystander.
Though police are still piecing together how events unfolded, Morreira gave a brief account of the shootings. Officers posted around the Exhibition Place grounds first heard gunshots coming from inside the club at about 3:20 AM. As they responded to the scene, they "encountered a crush of people exiting the nightclub," which was packed with hundreds of people. Police said there were numerous people congregating around the club, and as many as 4,000 in the general area.
After entering the club's patio, officers discovered a man who was eventually declared dead on the scene, despite their efforts to revive him. Police found another wounded man just outside the fence of the patio on Saskatchewan Street, as well as an injured woman in the same general area.
At the second crime scene, located just outside VICE's office on Dufferin Street, about 400 metres from Muzik, three men were "involved" in a shooting, according to Morreira, including the second person of interest. It was here that a woman in her early twenties was gunned down. A police officer rushed to perform CPR on the injured woman, leaving a bicycle on the ground nearby. The victim later died on her way to hospital. Moreira told reporters that "it would appear that she didn't have a role to play in any of the events that led up to the shooting."
A fifth victim was picked up a little less than two kilometres north, at the corner of College and Dufferin streets, after he flagged down an ambulance. Police are seeking anyone who may have helped him escape the scene of the shooting, saying that it is unlikely he could have walked that far north on his own.
Earlier, Toronto Police Deputy Chief Peter Sloly said that two of the wounded victims were seriously injured, while one was less serious. Moreira said that one victim has already been released from hospital.
Sloly said that police don't know how the weapon or weapons got into the club. "General procedure" would see private security agents pat down partygoers, he said. There is also no information yet released about whether Drake was present at the time of the shooting, though several Twitter users reported that he was at the club earlier.
Drake has not offered public comment yet today.
The entire area, including the VICE offices and several neighbouring streets, were cordoned off by police throughout the day as the homicide squad continue their investigation. Moreira said that they have only talked to a small fraction of partygoers who may have witnessed the violence, and are asking anyone with information to report to a website police have set up. Photos or video taken at any point during the night would be particularly helpful, he said.
This is the second consecutive year that gunfire has broken out after the OVO Fest afterparty at Muzik nightclub. Drake was also the host of last year's event, when two people were injured in a shooting in the early morning of August 5.
Tuesday's shooting comes in the midst of a spike in gun violence in Toronto, with 143 shootings reported to police in the first seven months of the year, 40 more than at the same point in 2014.
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