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The Globe and Mail

Relatives of Eaton Centre shooting victims share their views on Toronto

Police set up a perimeter outside the Eaton Centre shopping mall in Toronto, Saturday, June 2, 2012. Shots were fired at Toronto's downtown Eaton's Centre Saturday evening and at least two people were taken out on stretchers, local media outlets were reporting.

Victor Biro/Victor Biro/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Their young loved ones were caught in Saturday's gunfire – both took bullets to a leg – but the father and uncle of two victims have decidedly different views on how safe Toronto is.

Nicholas Kalakonis, 22, and 23-year-old Tasnia Mahmood were among the seven people shot in the Eaton Centre on Saturday. Mr. Kalakonis was hit in his upper leg and released from hospital hours after the shooting. Ms. Mahmood was released Sunday afternoon, a cast on her right leg covering the bone that was fractured by a bullet.

"We never expect these kinds of things in Canada, especially in the Eaton Centre," her uncle, Moniruz Zaman, said shortly before she was released from St. Michael's Hospital. "I will not let my kids go to the mall any more ... shopping or go for food. There's no guarantee they'll come back."

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But Mr. Kalakonis's father said that after the initial shock of receiving an e-mail from his son that said he'd been caught in the gunfire, he doesn't feel that Toronto is any less safe than before.

"The fact that it happened there, I think it's immaterial. It could have happened anywhere," said Chris Kalakonis from Ajax, where his son was recovering Sunday.

"I wouldn't have any qualms walking through there at the exact same spot myself," Mr. Kalakonis said. "It's just where it happened to happen."

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