The Eaton Centre will remain closed Sunday after a man was gunned down Saturday evening and seven others — including a pregnant woman and a young teenager — were injured at the packed downtown mall.
Toronto Police have yet to make an arrest in the case.
Cops say the man shot dead around 6:23 p.m. in the north-end lower food court near Dundas and Yonge Sts. was 25.
Three hours later, as investigators tried to piece together witness accounts and reports from doctors as the hunt continued for the shooter, Const. Victor Kwong told reporters a 13-year-old boy and a 20-year-old man remained in critical condition.
A pregnant woman knocked down as thousands of people tried to flee went into labour, Kwong added. Her status and that of her baby were not immediately available.
Two women and another man were left in serious condition, and a woman was grazed by a projectile as the gunman kept firing into a crowd, Kwong said.
He said investigators were trying to determine how many victims were shot and those injured in the melee of escaping patrons.
As colleagues cordoned off Yonge St. between Dundas and Queen Sts., a police officer drove an ambulance to nearby St. Michael’s hospital as paramedics worked on the man taken from the centre.
Marcus Neves-Polonio, who works in the food court, said “it was absolute mayhem.”
The 19-year-old said the centre was unusually busy for a Saturday evening “and if you fire a gun, everyone is going to panic.”
Standing less than a metre away, near the Big Smoke Burger, “I literally saw a guy pull out a gun.
“He fired … in the air,” then calmly pointed it at nearby shoppers and food court patrons, while continuing to trigger the handgun, Neves-Polonio said.
Describing the killer as a dark-skinned man wearing a hoodie and baggy pants, the Eaton Centre staffer said he appeared to be “just crazy … mentally unstable.
“He did hit a couple of people,” including a man and woman “about my age,” plus several other victims.
But as the gunfire continued, Neves-Polonio said “I dove under a table then ran … I was really scared. I’ve never seen anything like that.”
When the shooting stopped, “I helped some people leave, and police said to evacuate.”
Harsh Pandya, who lives downtown, said he heard the shots while shopping with girlfriend Joe Rai in an Aldo shoe store overlooking the food court.
“People began running for their lives,” Pandya, 28, told The Toronto Sun. “I never saw anything like this before.”
When he looked over a balcony railing, “I saw a black man, about 27 or 28, lying on the bottom of the food court.
“People were sitting there, chairs were lying on the floor,” Pandya said. “We’re traumatized by this.”
Rai, 27, she just finished paying for a purchase “when we heard loud noises, like people falling on the ground.
“There were babies in strollers,” she said. “I saw people lying there and there was a pool of blood.”
Praising mall security and Toronto Police, Rai said while many shoppers were evacuated quickly, others were kept inside stores for about 15 minutes as officers tried to determine if the gunman was still inside the centre.
At 10 p.m., TTC spokesman Jessica Martin told The Sun that the Queen and Dundas subway stations remains closed and Dundas streetcars were not riding the rails on the Eaton Centre’s northern edge. Queen St. streetcars resumed running on the south side of the complex around 9:45 p.m.
Martin said police were poring over TTC security video in an attempt to learn the gunman’s identity or his escape route.
Store surveillance images were also being collected by investigators.
Shortly after all officers — who were drawn from divisions across the city — were ordered to report to the police command post on Queen St. W. at 8:50 p.m., Const. Kwong told reporters “we do not have the shooter.”
Emergency Task Force and Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS) officers combed the sprawling complex, while others guarded all entrances.
As ambulances converged on St. Michael’s hospital, teams of ETF officers drove quickly to the Eaton Centre, where their sirens competed with a live concert singer at Dundas Square.
Outside the Eaton Centre, police Chief Bill Blair appealed for anyone with information to call 52 Division at 416-808-5200.
POLICE CONFIRMED THE FOLLOWING DETAILS AS OF 9:20 P.M.:
Victim #1: Male, 25yrs gunshot wound | deceased
Victim #2: Male, 20yrs gunshot wound | critical
Victim #3: Male, 13yrs gunshot wound | critical
Victim #4: Female, gunshot wound | serious
Victim #5: Male, gunshot wound | serious
Victim #6: Female, gunshot wound | serious
Victim #7: Female (pregnant) knocked to ground, minor injuries
Victim #8: Female, grazed by bullet