The injured include an infant and two pregnant women after gunfire erupted at an outside barbecue that was attended by about 200 people.
The barbecue was being held outside of 193 Danzig Ave. in the Lawrence Ave. E. and Morningside Ave. area of Scarborough in the northeast end of Toronto. Shortly after 10:30 last night, gunfire broke out and when the shooting stopped, two people were dead and 19 others injured.
The hundreds of people at the barbecue ranged in age from infants to those in their 20s. Tony Iagillo, a spokesman for Toronto EMS was quoted by the Toronto Star as saying of the victims, "Some of them are very young. Very young."
A man who is believed to be in his early 20s and a teenage girl were declared dead at the scene and the injured were taken to various area hospitals. Police from divisions throughout the city were called to assist in the investigation.
In addition to the 21 shooting victims, other people were injured after being trampled trying to escape the area after the shots rang out. They were treated at a paramedic bus for minor injuries.
Global News reports one person was hospitalized and then held in police custody as a "person of interest." Police have recovered a handgun at the scene and are looking for more suspects.
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair spoke to reporters at the scene early this morning. Blair was quoted by Global News as saying, "An altercation broke out among some individuals and there was an exchange of gunfire. During that gunfire, a number of innocent bystanders were struck."
As to the enormity of the event, Blair was quoted by the Globe and Mail as saying, "I've been a cop for 35 years and this is the worst incident of gun violence in my memory anywhere in North America. I think every citizen in Toronto will be shaken up by what has transpired here in Toronto tonight."
As Reuters notes, the shooting happened about six weeks after shots rang out in the food court of Toronto's Eaton Centre. One man was killed and six others, including a young boy, were injured.
Although the full extent of the injuries of the victims is unknown at this time, Blair did say that the wounds to the child are not life threatening.
At an 11 a.m. press conference, Chief Bill Blair gave further details of the incident. Although their names are not being released at this time, the dead are a 14-year-old girl and a 23-year-old man.
The ages of the shooting victims range from 22 months to 33 years. One man is undergoing surgery and is in critical condition. All other victims are expected to recover.
Blair said although police have received "some" cooperation from people who witnessed the shootings, they are seeking more witnesses. Police are also asking for people who have pictures or videos of the barbecue at anytime during the evening to contact them.
Toronto police hope they can arrest the two shooters before any retaliation occurs.