Toronto disturbed by rash of brazen shootings over the weekend
Another summer, another spike in gun violence across the City of Toronto. It's a real thing and, by the numbers at least, it's only getting worse.
With five months still left in 2019, Toronto has already surpassed the number of shooting incidents we saw during the entirety of 2018 — itself a record-breaking year for gun violence with 238 shootings reported.
A total of 16 people were shot in at least 12 separate firearm discharge incidents between Saturday morning and Monday night within the City of Toronto, according to police. No fatalities were reported, but multiple people were shot in at least five of those incidents.
More than a dozen shootings in Toronto this past weekend! Let that sink in! While our news stations blast about mass shootings in the USA, Canada also has GUN and MENTAL HEALTH issues being swept under the rug!— Novias (@novias_info) August 6, 2019
Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders spoke to the situation in a press conference early Monday afternoon, when the total number of victims was still 13. Three more people were shot in the afternoon and evening hours following Saunders' conference.
"This is not Toronto," said the police chief of what happened over the weekend.
"When I've got 13 people right now in the city that have been shot, that have a bullet in them, I've got concerns about that, and I can tell you we will be putting additional resources in specific places that we think will help deter and reduce the gun violence that's occurring in the city right now."
Gun violence left unchecked has become the new normal in TO. Over 350 shooting victims this year, 75 in July alone, and only now, Chief Saunders is talking about “putting additional resources in specific places”. Torontonians deserve better. @TorontoPolice https://t.co/3X7GyJmPbZ— Mike McCormack (@TPAca) August 5, 2019
Saunders said at the press conference that he was particularly concerned about a nightclub shooting at District 45 nightclub near Keele Street and Finch Avenue West. That shooting, which occurred after 2 a.m., injured seven people. One victim was taken to hospital in critical condition.
"I find it disturbing when you've got over 100 people and someone would be brazen enough to pull out a gun and start shooting," he said, noting that police are appealing to anyone who was at the club to come forward with information.
When asked by a reporter about the potential connection between this weekend's rash of shootings and several major events that happened in Toronto — chiefly OVO, VELD and Caribana — he said he was "not going to cast a light on the Caribbean Carnival."
Anyone else just plain pissed at all the shootings in #Toronto this past wknd? I hate that it happened during #Caribana weekend because it’s my favourite parade/summer festivity, & this just feeds into shitty unfair stereotypes.— Jessica Doutsas (@jdouts) August 6, 2019
"We can't let these 11 occurrences define, because of this event, this is what happened. They are not sanctioned by the Caribbean Carnival at all," Saunders continued.
That said, the volume of people in town for these events "did increase the density of the night time."
"We had a lot more venues that were open and a lot more visitors that were here during the night," said Saunders. "No doubt there is potential that may have been a factor, may have added to this... but I don't know."
Toronto averaging a shooting a day the last 3 years pic.twitter.com/CzPMNkiofx— Paul Soucy (@Wptseuss) August 4, 2019
Toronto Mayor John Tory called the recent gun violence "absolutely unacceptable" in a statement late Monday afternoon.
"I remain firmly of the belief that a handgun ban will help us address the gun violence we are experiencing in our city and the surrounding region," Tory continued.
"This was always put forward as a part of the answer to gun violence together with changes to other laws affecting things like bail, additional support for police, and the paramount need for all three governments to invest together in kids, families and neighbourhoods."
"All of these initiatives are much needed if we are to stop the spread of guns, help police crack down on illegal guns and those who have them, and address the root causes of gang and gun activity," the mayor concluded.
We are on the edge of US cities gun violence levels. YOU MUST ACT NOW. before it's completely impossible to stop.— Brian Thompsom (@BrianThompsom) August 6, 2019
For all their talk of combating firearms through "smarter policing" and developing stronger relationships with at-risk communities, police have yet to put a damper on the city's fast-rising rates of gun violence.
The good news is that less people have died as a result of shootings this year — a full 37 per cent less than what was recorded in 2018, according to TPS data.
Hey, it's a start.
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