Three women wounded in a multiple shooting at a crowded Brampton strip club early Wednesday – two of them injured critically - were patrons attending an event, not employees, Peel Regional Police said.
But there was still no word about suspects and it remained unclear whether the victims were targeted or were caught in the crossfire of a gun battle.
Shell casings were retrieved from the crime scene, and detectives were interviewing witnesses and examining closed-circuit video footage. But there was no immediate description of the shooter, nor details of how he or she fled the crime scene.
And the motive, too, remained a mystery.
"We don't' exactly know how many suspects there are," Constable George Tudos said. "There were people who left prior to us getting there."
The violence at the Office Gentleman's Club on Melanie Drive, just off Steeles Avenue, erupted shortly before 1:30 a.m., roughly half an hour before it closed for the night.
Roughly 200 people were in the building at the time, police said.
Emergency vehicles sped to the scene after receiving a 911 call from inside the club, which had undergone a recent change of management and bills itself as "Brampton's newest and only strip club. Featuring state of the art sound and lighting, combined with a modern and sexy look with large plush leather sofas."
The names and ages of the three victims were not released.
Two of them were shot in the chest and were in hospital in critical but stable condition, while the third was wounded in the arm, Constable Tudos said, adding that the club does not appear to have attracted police attention recently.
In a long stream of Twitter messages, the promoter of the party voiced condolences to the three women who were wounded, but insisted he had done all he could to keep the place safe.
The shootings took place during a popular event called "Twerk It Tuesdays" said the promoter, who uses the name Littles The General. "Twerking" refers to a provocative dance, usually by women, in which the focus is on the dancer's posterior.
"On behalf of the staff at the club, we apologize to the three women shot but we did EVERYTHING to keep ppl safe," he wrote.
"As the customer, you disrespected YOUR event," Littles tweeted to the shooter. "Anyone who smoked a joint, snuck in a lighter, a knife or in this case a gun."
In another message he said he was "praying for the girls that got shot this morning."
A lively, profanity-laced discussion ensued between Littles and his followers, and he rebuked critics who suggested he was responsible, and later suggested from now on a dress code may be enforced.
Littles said he is from Halifax, and has been in Brampton for three years. Whether Littles The General was enjoying the attention was unclear.
"How dare you quote my tweets," he tweeted to a radio station.