TORONTO – A man clad in black fired a handgun into restaurants and cafes in a lively Toronto neighborhood, killing a 10-year-old girl and an 18-year-old woman and wounding 13 others in an attack that has shaken the confidence of many in the normally safe city.
The mass shooting late Sunday in Toronto’s Greektown district came just three months after a van struck and killed 10 people in an apparent attack directed toward women.
Authorities identified the suspect as Faisal Hussain, 29, of Toronto, who died after an exchange of gunfire with police. It was not immediately clear whether he killed himself or was killed by police.
A Canadian member of Parliament who knew the 18-year-old killed in the Toronto mass shooting is identifying her as Reese Fallon. Nathaniel Erskine-Smith told CP24 television he has so many wonderful things to say about the young woman he knew, but says the family is grieving and has asked for privacy. He says they are devastated.
An online Facebook profile for Fallon shows her as a student of McMaster University.
A video from one witness shows a man dressed in black firing three shots from the sidewalk into at least one shop or restaurant late Sunday. Witnesses said they heard 20 to 30 shots.
Police Chief Mark Saunders said terrorism had not been ruled out. Toronto police tweeted the shooting occurred in the Danforth and Logan avenues area of the Greektown neighborhood, a busy residential area with restaurants and cafes.
— Natalie Nanowski (@Natalie_SKi) July 23, 2018
A woman and a young girl were killed. Saunders said the gunman died after exchanging gunfire with police.
The Greek Community of Toronto President Antonis Artemakis, spoke with The National Herald, noting that due to the ongoing investigation and an upcoming briefing, he could not give a detailed statement at this time.
He told TNH that he was on his way to a meeting with members of the Toronto City Council and would have more information later today.
He noted that of the victims, it is believed that a 10-year-old child and a waiter belong to the Greek community, but he would have confirmation after the meeting with the city officials and authorities.
Among the Greek Canadians who witnessed the shooting, the Toronto Star reported was Stavy Karnouskou who was standing with friends outside Logo bar, “I heard ‘pop, pop’ and then I turned because I thought it was fireworks… and then the mother of a friend of mine goes, ‘They’re shooting at us — run inside!’” she said.
Michael Kozaris, working inside Mezes restaurant, told the Toronto Star he heard “pops,” and “I thought maybe fireworks, but the restaurant is noisy so I don’t think too much. But after the 10th shot, I think, ‘OK, something’s happening,’ and I see people at the patio jump up. A co-worker says, ‘It’s not bullets’ and goes outside to check and is standing there. We can hear shots but we can’t see anything. Another co-worker, Nick, a waiter, tells him to come in and grabs him and we hear two more bangs. And Nick goes, ‘F-, he shot me. Call 911, call an ambulance.’ And he’s got blood pouring off his hand. We think it was a ricochet off the door handle.”
After calling 911 and being on hold for “several minutes,” someone asked a police officer for help and was told an ambulance was on its way, but they would have to wait, the Toronto Star reported adding that a friend drove the injured man to a nearby hospital where Kozaris said, that “his co-worker was being X-rayed and that they thought the bullet was still in his hand.”
“Andrew Mantzios was having a coffee with friends by the fountain at Danforth and Logan Avenues – a popular gathering spot for residents – when he heard gunshots ring out, around 10 PM,” The Globe and Mail reported.
The suspect was dressed in black and carrying a handgun, Matzios said, adding that “He had this horrible expression on his face,” the Globe and Mail reported, “the man, he said, was pointing his gun and firing at a crowd of people standing on the corner of the intersection, waiting to cross the street. Somebody yelled to get down.”
“And then a lady tried to run and she fell down,” Mantzios told the Globe and Mail, “he turned around and shot her point blank, two or three times,” adding that as the man crossed back and forth, “shooting into businesses,” Matzios noted that a friend of his saw the shooter change the clip of his weapon.
Matzios “was still horrified by the image of the woman by the square being ‘executed,’” the Globe and Mail reported, “Believe me, I’ve never seen anything like that. I am still in shock,” he said.
Jim Melis watched the gunman “fire shots through the window of Caffe Demetre, a popular dessert shop at Danforth and Chester Avenues,” the Globe and Mail reported, noting that “the glass window shattered and panic set in on the block.”
The Greek Community of Toronto posted on social media “As this tragic event hits very close to home our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected. We as the Greek Community of Toronto need to stand together in solidarity because we are #DanforthStrong #TorontoStrong.”
The Embassy of Canada to the Hellenic Republic also posted on social media, “Our thoughts go out to all those affected and their families.”
Toronto Councilor Mary Fragedakis, barely held back tears as she spoke to the City Council on July 23, “This is so heartbreaking. The victims and their loved ones are in my thoughts and prayers. I cannot imagine what they are going through, the pain, the loss. The Danforth has always been a part of my home all my life and last night out there in the community… I felt so devastated and words don’t do how we’re feeling any justice. As we mourn, cherishing and caring for those in our lives may help with the pain and coming together as a community in this difficult time is so important.”
Fragedakis also thanked the first responders and medical teams “because I know this is tough on them, too.”