Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders addressed the media after a bloody weekend in Toronto which saw 17 people shot over the Civic Holiday weekend, seven of which occurred at a nightclub in North York.
“When I’ve got 13 people right now in the city that have been shot, that have a bullet in them, I’ve got concerns for that,” said Saunders during a news conference on Monday.
“We will be putting additional resources in specific places that we think will help deter and reduce the gun violence that’s occurring in the city right now.”
Saunders did not specify exactly what those measures would look like.
Only hours after Saunders addressed the media, a man was seriously injured after he was shot near Flemington and Stockton road, south of Yorkdale Mall. According to Global News, a police update says it was clarified that a second victim was enroute to the hospital.
Later that night at around 10 pm, another man was shot in the arm east of Scarborough Golf Club Road. The man was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening gunshot wounds.
The shootings ramped up on Saturday, when two men were found shot near the Dufferin Street and Glen Long Avenue area. After, a man was shot and seriously injured at a Bridle Path home. Only hours after that, another man was shot in Liberty Village, receiving non-life-threatening injuries.
On the Monday holiday, gunshots stunned a crowd at the District 45 nightclub on Finch West.
“I find this one very bothersome,” he said.
“I find it disturbing when you’ve got over 100 people and someone would be brazen enough to pull out a gun and start shooting. It’s very early. It’s very solvable.”
Only two hours after that, police say another three people were injured after a vehicle was riddled with bullets on Lombard Street near Church and Richmond East.
Police say the shootings all appear to be connected.
When it came time to answer questions about gun control, Saunders had a clear message: Don’t be sketchy. “Most of the shootings are occurring at nighttime. A lot of the places and some of the people who have been shot aren’t necessarily nine-to-five, wife and kids and home. If you’re kind of in that stratosphere, then the odds of anything happening to you are very, very slim in this city.”
“When someone’s shooting with 100-plus people in a club, that’s not a good day for us.”
Toronto Mayor John Tory once again called for a ban on handguns and assault rifles.
“The gun violence we have seen in recent days in our city is absolutely unacceptable … I remain firmly of the belief that a handgun ban will help us address the gun violence we are experiencing in our city and the surrounding region,” he wrote.
“This was always put forward as a part of the answer to gun violence together with changes to other laws affecting things like bail, additional support for police, and the paramount need for all three governments to invest together in kids, families and neighbourhoods.”
Police Chief Saunders did not express if he agreed with a gun ban, though he believes that “anything that does remove a handgun is a good day for the city.”
“I’ve got people that are shot. I’ve got people that are shooting people. I want to use my resources and all of my energy to solve these cases and bring them before the court system,” he said.
“Anything that does remove a handgun is a good day for the city. There is no real silver bullet. There’s so many aspects of why people are doing it, but at the end of the day people are getting shot and I’ve got concerns about that and its immediacy.”
Crime in Toronto has been on the rise. According to Toronto police statistics, there were 98 shooting incidents so far in 2019, with 18 deaths and 106 injured.
In 2018, there were 102 shootings with 30 deaths and 103 injured.
2018 and 2019 have both been particularly violent summers compared to the years that preceded them.
“I will say that this is not a normal weekend in the city of Toronto. I did not anticipate that in a three-day span that I was going to be talking about 13 people shot. This is not Toronto,” Saunders said.
“Rest assured that I will be providing the resources where they need to be to solve these cases and also working with various stakeholders to see what we can do to help reduce the gun violence that’s happening in the city.”