A business owner in an upscale North Toronto neighbourhood says he doesn’t feel safe in the area any more after witnessing a brazen fatal shooting on Tuesday night.
The man, who did not want his identity or business revealed for fear that it may affect his livelihood, said he heard “four or five” gunshots about 9:20 p.m. and saw two men run south along Yonge Street.
“It all happened in a matter of seconds,” said the man, who has been in the affluent Yonge Street and Lawrence Avenue neighbourhood for 20 years. “I had customers … and they ran [into the back] and laid down on the floor.”
After the initial shock of hearing gunfire, the owner told a friend to call the police while he went off to chase the shooters.
“I got in my car to try to catch them or see them,” he said. “But after I made a U-turn, they were gone.”
He said the men were wearing jackets with hoods and black masks underneath.
Paramedics performed CPR on a male victim as he lay between two parked cars in front of a restaurant near Yonge Street and Deloraine Avenue.
The man was transported to hospital, but was declared dead shortly after arrival. A postmortem examination was to be performed.
The victim has been identified as Peter Nguyen, 26, of Toronto. Constable Sarah Diamond said he was known to the police.
Asked whether investigators believe that Mr. Nguyen had been targeted, Constable Diamond said: “We don’t have that information.”
Police are searching for two male suspects who fled the area on foot and were spotted heading west on Melrose Avenue.
The gunfire erupted in a neighbourhood more known for its upmarket shops, restaurants and real estate than violent crime.
Steps away from the site of the shooting, a home is listed for sale at just under $2-million and a fourplex mansion is priced at nearly $3.8-million.
“This is a very good area with million-dollar houses; it could have happened anywhere,” the businessman said.
“I consider this a top area in the city, but lately the whole city has become an unsafe place.”