A Toronto driver opened fire with a shotgun over the weekend after becoming angry with how a nearby pedestrian was looking at her, police said, leaving two people wounded.
The pedestrian, a 21-year-old woman, was injured and so was a 69-year-old man who happened to be cycling past, according to police. Both received medical attention and are expected to survive.
The driver left the scene. A 21-year-old woman was arrested a day later and faces a long list of charges, including attempted murder.
“It’s an unprovoked attack, it was not road rage,” Toronto Police spokeswoman Constable Jenifferjit Sidhu said on Tuesday. “It has nothing to do with road rage.”
According to police, the three people involved in the incident came together at Shuter and George streets, an intersection on the eastern side of Toronto’s downtown, around 1 a.m. on Friday. What caused the outbreak of violence remains unclear, but police say it appears the driver was angered by something in the demeanour of the pedestrian and asked, “What are you looking at?”
Moments later, the driver allegedly exited her vehicle, pulled what police described as a “two-foot-long black shotgun” from her trunk and opened fire “within a close proximity.”
“Very concerning, very brazen and very violent,” Constable Sidhu said. “Fortunately, in this incident, they’re non-life-threatening injuries. But the 21-year-old woman sustained [a] gunshot wound to the chest while the man, who was just in the area … sustained a gunshot wound to the arm. So it’s very concerning and alarming.”
Like the April attack, in which a driver wielding a van mowed down dozens of people and left 10 dead, the weekend incident is being treated as a criminal act and not as a traffic-related incident.
There has been a rise in the number of shooting-related incidents in Toronto so far this year, compared with 2017. City-police statistics record a total of 208 incidents through July 1.
An arrest in Friday’s incident was made just after 3:30 on Saturday morning, less than 27 hours after the shooting. According to police, they also seized “a quantity of drugs, a large sum of money, and drug paraphernalia.” A court document alleged that the drug was crack cocaine.
Cassandra Beckett-Benjamin, a Toronto resident, has been charged with 10 criminal counts. They include attempting to murder the pedestrian, aggravated assault of the cyclist and a total of six firearms-related charges, as well as two drug charges.
The accused is scheduled to appear in court again on Wednesday morning.