Toronto is on track to expect “hundreds” of more gang-related shootings before the end of the year, said Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders following a Saturday morning shooting in the city’s north end that injured four men.
“The unfortunate piece is that there will be more people that will be shot,” Saunders told reporters at a press conference.
He said gang activity is to blame for a recent spate of gun violence in the city, including Saturday’s shooting around 1 a.m. near Yorkdale Shopping Centre.
Saunders said over 30 gunshots were exchanged between two groups and investigators are looking for at least four suspects.
Police believe four suspects were in a black sedan and three of them got out of the vehicle and started shooting.
Saunders said at least one man returned fire before the three men got back into the sedan, which drove away.
Four men were shot and all sustained non-life-threatening injuries, said Saunders, adding that none of them are co-operating with police in the investigation.
One victim drove himself to the hospital, while another was located a short distance away from the scene.
Of the four men shot, Saunders said three of them were connected to the shooting while one was a bystander who was “at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Police said officers located one of the victims hiding in a nearby portable toilet.
Saunders said he believes there will soon be a retaliatory shooting from a rival gang.
“It is very reactive, it is very planned when these things happen. My fear is that they have no respect for the rest of the public,” he said. “When we live in a city of three million people, unfortunately some people are going to be in harm’s way.”
He asked the public to be cautious and report any suspicious activity to police.
Saturday’s shooting comes one day after the Ontario government announced it would be spending $3 million to more than double the amount of closed-circuit TV cameras for Toronto to try and curb the gun violence.
Not including Saturday’s incident, the city has seen 274 shootings this year so far with 412 victims, which includes those killed and injured.