Two shootings in 24 hours rock Liberty Village residents
It was a wild August long weekend in the City of Toronto with events galore and a subsequent influx of tourists downtown.
A total of 16 people were shot between Friday and Tuesday, according to Toronto Police. No deaths have yet been reported as a result of the violence, though several people were injured.
Residents of neighbourhoods where the shootings took place were shook, particularly those in Liberty Village — a relatively quiet (and increasingly vocal) residential enclave filled with condos and warehouse office conversions where two shootings happened on Sunday.
Heavily armed @TorontoPolice from @TPS14Div as well as the emergency task force and k9 services remain in the area of Pirandello Street/ East Liberty after earlier shooting. One patient transported to hospital by @TorontoMedics after being reportedly shot in the shoulder #Toronto pic.twitter.com/4Ihhd1ya0N— Andrew Collins (@ACollinsPhoto) August 4, 2019
Liberty sees its fair share of rambunctious activity thanks to its location near several major event spaces including Ontario Place, The Ex, Budweiser Stage and BMO Field, and this weekend was no exception with both Caribana and OVO Fest in full swing.
Police say that as many as 30 shots were fired around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday outside the "very busy" Forty2 Supperclub at Liberty Street and Mowat Avenue, the same site as a high-profile shooting that killed a 26-year-old man in 2016.
Multiple people were injured as a result of the early morning incident, according to police, but none were said to be suffering from gunshot wounds.
About 20 shots fired in the parking lot of Forty2 Supperclub on Mowat Av in Liberty Village. Multiple cars damaged. One person to hospital with injuries from a fight, police say. Duty Inspector says it is fortunate nobody was shot, large crowds were leaving the club. #Toronto pic.twitter.com/GhrRIjaazv— Jeremy Cohn (@JeremyCohnTV) August 4, 2019
Around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, less than 24 hours later, another violent incident broke out in a densely-packed highrise cluster near East Liberty and Pirandello Streets.
Police say that between eight and 12 shots were fired, and that one male victim was transported to hospital with non-life threatening gunshot wounds. A white SUV was said to have been seen leaving the area.
Bullet holes were found in at least one condo building and several vehicles, as well as shell casings. East Liberty Street, an arterial road through the neighbourhood, was blocked off from Hanna to Strachan while police investigated.
Officers were still on scene into the early morning hours of Monday, though no suspect descriptions have yet been released in either case.
Leo we've talked a few times about Raptors. The Liberty village shooting happened right outside my condo balcony - at 4pm on a Sunday afternoon. Absolutely disgusting. pic.twitter.com/PaZgNjK6Os— Michael Morfee (@morfeus44) August 5, 2019
Members of the Liberty Village community, which boasts the largest neighbourhood Facebook group in North America, have been outspoken in their displeasure over the pair of shootings this weekend.
"After watching the Toronto Police Chief fail to reference the incidents in Liberty Village, give erroneous statements (ie that incidents took place at night) and lie about no known connection to the OVO fest or Caribana weekend..." wrote one person. "Shame on TPS for failing to make it right!"
"Yesterday's shootings in Liberty Village have flooded me with so many emotions," wrote another.
"At first, I was terrified while caught in the middle of it as I hit the ground looking for cover. Then I was angry that this was happening in my neighbourhood, in broad daylight, with innocent people out enjoying a beautiful day along with children playing in an adjacent park."
Great! I’m hoping we’ll be advised that a review of police actions in the lead-up to the 2nd liberty village shooting will be taking place to ensure that the police’s core values related to reflection and growth will be used! We were neither served nor protected in this case!— Amberlea LV (@amberlea_lv) August 5, 2019
"Now, the day after, as I reflect on the course of my emotions I see the flaw in my pattern of thoughts," that same commenter continued. "We need to remain open-minded because when we close our minds and jump to blame, we are doing nothing other than perpetuating the problem."
Liberty Village is already at odds, at least in Facebook comments, over the impacts of a new respite centre in the area.
Sunday's pair of shootings could only work to intensify cries for more policing in the neighbourhood and boost the accusations of NIMBY-ism that will inevitably follow those cries.
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