A young woman is dead and 13 people are injured after a gunman dressed in black fired a hail of bullets in a busy neighbourhood in Toronto, Canada.
One of the youngest victims, a nine-year-old girl, is in a critical condition, and the gunman is dead after a shootout with police.
Witnesses described scenes of horror and chaos, saying they heard around 20 to 25 gunshots as people enjoyed a warm summer night at restaurants and bars in east Toronto’s Greektown neighbourhood.
Chilling footage posted online shows the gunman – wearing black clothes, a black hat and carrying a bag over his shoulder – walking up to a storefront and pulling out a handgun as he fires a volley of shots from the pavement.
In the aftermath of the rampage, shocked witnesses told of the moment they saw the shooter take aim and open fire at his victims in Danforth Avenue.
A witness named Diana, who works at the Caffe Demetre dessert restaurant, told local TV station CP24 she was serving a family-of-four, including the young girl who was wounded.
The girl was seated near the front of the restaurant when the attack started, and was on the floor after the shooting as her mum was in tears.
Diana said she saw the gunman aim at the restaurant through the patio doors before he fired about three shots as people began to scream and cry.
She ran towards the back of the restaurant and took cover in the basement, and soon emerged to a scene of carnage.
Diana said: “When I came upstairs I saw the little girl on the floor. Her mom was crying. I’m really worried about that little girl because she just started her life."
Local resident Andrew Van Eek, who lives in the area, said he stuck his head out of his window after hearing gunfire and commotion in the street below.
He told CBC News: "I saw somebody come just down the sidewalk and shoot into Demetre restaurant."
Jessica Young, who works at Second Cup, a nearby coffee shop, told the Toronto Star: “I look to my side and see the shooter through the window. He sees me, or he sees my co-worker or someone, and points the gun and shoots through the window."
There were scenes of chaos as people hid on the floors of restaurants and bars, or ran through the streets looking for a safe place to hide.
Witness John Tulloch told the Star he and his brother had just got out of a car when he heard anywhere from 20 to 30 gunshots, adding: "We saw people starting to run, so we just ran.""
Other witnesses described seeing people on the floor of Mezes restaurant, but it was unclear whether they were taking cover or injured.
Some witnesses initially thought firecrackers were going off nearby before realising it was the sound of gunshots.
Jody Steinhauer said she and other customers at Christina’s restaurant were told to run to the back when gunfire erupted outside.
She told CBC News it sounded like 10 to 15 firecrackers, adding: "We started to hear people scream out front."
The gunman was pronounced dead at the scene after a shootout with police. None of the officers involved was injured.
Dozens of police officers, including heavily-armed tactical officers rushed to the scene, along with paramedics and firefighters.
The motive for the mass shooting, which happened at 10pm local time on Sunday, was not revealed, but it did not appear to be random, said Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders.
He added: "We are looking at all possible motives… and not closing any doors."
Toronto’s Greektown neighbourhood is a popular night spot due to its restaurants, cafes, bars and shops.
It comes just weeks before Greektown hosts Taste of the Danforth, an annual Greek food and music festival which attracts more than one million people over three days.
Two revellers were stabbed at last year’s festival.
Canada’s biggest city has seen a sharp rise in gun violence in 2018, with deaths jumping 53 per cent to 26 so far this year from the same period last year.
The number of shootings is up 13 per cent.
Toronto’s police force had deployed about 200 officers from July 20 in response to the rising violence, which city officials have blamed on gun violence.
After Sunday night’s mass shooting, Mayor John Tory told reporters that the city has a gun problem and guns were too readily available to too many people.
He urged people not to draw any conclusions about the mass shooting, and to wait for the outcome of the police investigation.
It was the second mass casualty incident in Toronto this year.
In April, ten people were killed when a driver ploughed a van into pedestrians in a neighbourhood in north Toronto.
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