One man is dead after an early-morning shooting in one of the city’s popular nightclub districts.
Anthony Smith, 21, died in hospital Thursday afternoon after bullets struck him in the head around 2:40 a.m. Thursday, according to Toronto Police.
Another man, also in his early-20, was hit in the back. He is expected to live.
Police found the two wounded men on a sidewalk at the intersection of King Street West and Portland Street.
Revellers were just beginning to spill out of several nightclubs along the bustling strip of King Street west of Spadina Avenue when the bullets began to fly, one of them shattering a curbside billboard.
By Thursday afternoon, police tape surrounded two pools of blood on the north side of the street as well as the front entrance to the Loki Lounge nightclub on the south side. Investigators were inside the club looking for evidence that a scuffle inside the establishment somehow led to the bloodshed.
The club had been hosting an event called Wild Wednesday, according to a Facebook page.
“It was all very chill last night,” said promoter Dwight Sam, who left Loki Lounge shortly before the shooting. “The place was a little over half full and everyone was having a normal low-key night.”
Toronto Police are trying to determine if the men were targeted and are appealing for anyone with information about the shootings to come forward.
“This is not an acceptable thing for residents to wake up to in the morning,” said local councillor Adam Vaughan, gesturing to police tape behind him and the crimson stains beyond.
Six years ago, Mr. Vaughan spearheaded a high-profile crackdown on nightclubs in the Entertainment District east of Spadina. The effort ushered in minimum requirements for security guards, videocameras, lighting and wanding. Opposing politicians labelled it Mr. Vaughan’s “war on fun.”
Now the unruly atmosphere has migrated to the area around the crime scene and points west.
“What we’re having real problems with is there’s a volatility that emerges from the concentration of liquor licences on the street,” Mr. Vaughan said. “When you have two or three nightclubs on a street, you can tell where the problems are and it’s manageable. When you’ve got 15 or 20 nightclubs in the area, you can’t tell where the problem is coming from and you have challenges. You’ve got thousands of people on the street drunk, and that’s where the problems arise.”