By Ian Shalapata
(TORONTO, ON) – In the early hours yesterday morning, Toronto Police officers were at the Exhibition Place Muzik nightclub, at 15 Saskatchewan Road, for a large event. There was a crowd of several thousand patrons.
At approximately 3:25 am, as the club was shutting down, multiple gunshots were fired both inside the club and outside. Officers discovered a man inside the club and a woman, just north of the Dufferin Gates, who died of apparent gunshot injuries.
Two more men and a second woman are also in hospital following the shooting at the OVO Fest after-party hosted by rapper Drake. None of their injuries were described as life-threatening.
The shooting began inside the venue and spilled out onto the street as club-goers fled the scene.
“We were very lucky that this was not a larger body count, quite frankly,” Toronto Police deputy chief Peter Sloly told media.
According to reports, the gunfire occurred without any warning or commotion. It originated near the VIP section.
Police found a man on the club’s patio dead with an apparent gunshot to the head. A wounded man and woman were located adjacent to the club and taken to hospital. The woman has since been treated and released.
Another woman was found near the Dufferin Gates leading to the Exhibition grounds. A police officer performed CPR but she died en route to hospital. It is unknown if she had previously been in the club or an innocent bystander.
The fifth victim was found near Dufferin and College, about 2.5km from Muzik, after he flagged down a passing ambulance. Due to the severity of his injuries, police do not think he got to the location on his own.
None of the victims’ identities have been released by police.
In addition to 10 paid- and additional on-duty police, Muzik employed around “73 professionally trained” security guards as well as “15 specially trained guards who conduct body searches, including the use of metal-detecting wands, on all patrons entering the property,” according to a statement released by Muzik.
“We’re absolutely shocked by this horrific attack,” club owner Zlatko Starkovski said in the statement. “We are fully co-operating with Toronto Police and have full confidence they will get to the bottom of this horrific incident and bring these people to justice.”
This is the second year in a row that a shooting has occurred at Muzik during the OVO Fest after-party.
Toronto Police are seeking two two persons of interest.
The first suspect is described as a black man, 6’ 0” to 6’ 1” in height, and about 25 or 26 years old. He has a buzz cut and was wearing a light purple crewneck sweater, with a colourful design on the front, and dark blue jeans.
The second suspect, seen near the Dufferin Gate, is described as a brown man with a skinny build, about 5’ 10” to 5’ 11”, and 24 to 28 years old. He was wearing a yellow and burgundy plaid button-up shirt.