spences bakery shooting

Shooting at popular jerk chicken joint in Toronto leaves 6 people injured

Five men and one woman sustained serious injuries early Wednesday morning at a beloved restaurant in the heart of Toronto's Little Jamaica neighbourhood when a black SUV pulled up outside and its occupants opened fire.

Spence's Bakery, a popular spot for late night eats and authentic drum-cooked jerk chicken, was open and filled with customers when shots rang out just after 2 a.m., according to police.

"They shot randomly into a group of people inside the bakery," said Toronto Police Insp. Tim Crone of the suspects. "Obviously this is a very serious incident that has occurred."

Crone said emergency crews were called to the business at 1539 Eglinton Ave. West, between Oakwood and Marlee Avenues, just after 2 a.m. this morning amid a raging thunderstorm for reports of gunfire.

Six adults with serious but not life-threatening injuries were located at the scene and taken to hospital. All are expected to survive.

"This is a very brazen shooting at this hour of the night with no regard whatsoever for any kind of safety," said Crone to reporters following the incident, beckoning anyone with details or video footage to come forward.

Suspect information has yet to be released, and Crone said that it is not known how many people were inside the SUV from which multiple rounds of shots were fired.

Toronto Mayor John Tory did tell CP24 today, however, that he believes the incident to be "gang-related."

"I've spoken to the police chief and he didn't give me very much information yet because it happened early in the morning, but it has all the earmarks, I'm just saying, of something that is again gang-related," said Tory.

"We're just seeing a continuing problem as we have through the summer with gang activity and the gangs are tied in with gun trafficking, they're tied into drugs, they're tied into human trafficking."

"The shooting at Spence's Bakery is horrifying," said City Councillor Josh Matlow similarly in a statement Wednesday morning.

"Gang violence in Toronto must be addressed. I've reached out to the police & will speak with the mayor today. I'm also hosting meeting soon with community leaders, BIA and city staff to focus on several ways to support the neighborhood."

Historic Little Jamaica, already hard hit in recent years by gentrification and the ongoing construction of Metrolinx's Eglinton Crosstown LRT, is currently raising funds to help support Black-owned businesses in the neighbourhood.

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