Toronto police know who they're looking for in connection with Saturday's Eaton Centre shooting - but they aren't saying more in the hope members of the public will come forward with more information.
Releasing a description or video footage of the suspect "will taint witnesses that we've not yet interviewed. And the balance between how much it will help the case and how much it till hurt is too great," acting deputy chief Jeff McGuire told The Globe. "Anybody we haven't interviewed yet, if they get to court and say, 'Yeah, I saw it on TV before,' their evidence becomes weightless."
Police identified the man killed in the shooting as 24-year-old Toronto resident Ahmed Hassan.
Mr. Hassan was targeted by the shooter, and police suspect he had gang ties, although they aren't saying definitively the shooting was gang-related.
Police suspect one of the several wounded may have been a target and may have gang ties.
A hail of bullets ripped through a crowded food court in one of the country's busiest malls around 6:30 Saturday evening, causing a panicked dash for the exits. At least seven people were shot and one pregnant woman trampled by the stampeding masses.
The 28-year-old woman went in to labour and was taken to hospital. Her contractions have since stopped, police said, and a hospital spokeswoman said the woman has been released.
A 13-year-old boy visiting Toronto and shopping with his family was shot in the head.
“He’s still responsive and not considered to be in a life-threatening condition,” said Mr. Pugash.
“I heard that he was speaking and after the concerns of last night, that’s very, very encouraging.”
A 23-year-old man shot multiple times in the neck and chest is still in critical condition.
Two women and a man have been released from hospital.
Police said closed-circuit television footage from the mall's security cameras has enabled them to nail down the identity of a suspect. But they won't tell anyone who they're looking for, in fear of tainting witness testimony they hope is still forthcoming.
Outside St. Michael's Hospital on Sunday, Moniruz Zaman said his 23-year-old niece, a recent graduate of George Brown's business program, was shot in the leg yesterday and is expected to be released from hospital to her parents' home on Sunday.
He said his niece, Tasnia Mahmood, had been shopping when she and her friend decided to stop at the food court for dinner. Before they could have something to eat, he said, chaos broke out when shots were fired. She was hiding under a table before she realized her right leg was bleeding.
"She's doing quite well now but still has pain," he said.
Mr. Zaman said his niece called 911 but the ambulance was "quite late" and mall security tried to bring her upstairs.
Ms. Mahmood and her friend are shaken by the shooting but are physically OK, he said. Mr. Zaman said his niece has a large cast on her leg, and beneath that, the bone is shattered.
"We never expect these kinds of things in Canada, especially in the Eaton Centre. I will not let my kids go to the mall any more, shopping or for food," he said. "There's no guarantee they'll come back."
There were reports on Sunday that another shooting occurred in downtown Toronto just hours before a gunman opened fire at the Eaton Centre shopping mall.
Mike Spicer said he was driving south on Spadina Avenue with his son and his son’s friend around 2 p.m. when their car became stuck in standstill traffic south of College Street.
“We heard three shots fired, and we just said, ‘Oh, it sounds like a gun,’” he said. “And all three of us looked that were in the car and there was a guy running down the street toward us with a gun.”
He said the man was holding the handgun in his right hand as he ran. He described him as black and said he was wearing a grey hoodie and loose-fitting black jeans.
“I managed to kind of squeeze up [against the car in front] to get out of the line of that street,” he said, so he wouldn’t be directly in the man’s path.
Mr. Spicer said he thinks the man may have ducked into the building before he reached Spadina Avenue. He called 911 about a half an hour later.
Police and the mayor were quick to note that Saturday's shooting is an anomaly, not the norm.
"One idiot with a gun on a Saturday afternoon in downtown Toronto does not speak to the state of affairs of the city," said deputy chief McGuire. "This has an incredible ability to create fear and angst among people ... but please do not gauge this city based on what you saw yesterday."
Mayor Rob Ford, who had spoken Saturday as well, said he was disturbed by the shooting and vowed to bring the perpetrator to justice.
"We're not going to tolerate it. We're going to apprehend this person, and we will convict this person," he said. He also noted Torontonians shouldn’t let this incident make them afraid of their own downtown. "This is the safest city in the world."
Absent from Sunday's press conference was Police Chief Bill Blair, who spoke with reporters Saturday evening.
"The chief said yesterday he was leaving this to the homicide squad. And that's what he does," said police spokesman Mark Pugash, adding "it's very unlikely" Chief Blair will speak further on this later. "He doesn’t want to draw any attention from the investigation."
Early Sunday afternoon there were at least five police vehicles outside the mall, including two cruisers on the pavement near the main entrance at Yonge and Dundas streets. Two uniformed officers were standing by the revolving doors as the mall remained closed for the day.
With reports from Carys Mills, Kim Mackreal and Dakshana BascaramurtyReport Typo/Error
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