TORONTO – Gunfire erupted on a busy Toronto street filled with holiday shoppers Monday evening, killing a young woman and wounding six other people, police said.
They said two suspects were arrested and at least one gun was seized shortly after the 5:30 p.m. Monday violence near the popular Eaton Center shopping mall, a downtown zone popular with tourists.
Witnesses said they dove for cover or took refuge in shops when they heard gunshots.
"Someone said they were shot and everyone went to the back of the store," said Magnolia Sandoval, an employee at a camera store.
Police said they were investigating if violence was gang related. They did not immediately disclose if the two people arrested were suspected of opening fire or how many attackers were involved. It also wasn't clear if the victims had been purposely fired on.
"I can't say which of the individuals have been targeted and which are accidental," Police Staff Sgt. Stan Belza said. "This is an extremely busy shopping day. There were a lot of people out there."
Belza described the slain victim as a young woman, without giving her age. The six wounded were hospitalized, including an off-duty police officer who was hit in the leg.
Emergency vehicles crowded shopping area, which was cordoned off with yellow police tape.
The Toronto zone was also the site of two other recent shootings. There have been 78 murders in Toronto this year, including a record 52 by gunfire — twice as many as last year.
"I've seen this city change and I'm not pleased with it," Belza said. "It seems to be so brazen, so little regard for anyone else's safety."
The rash of recent guns deaths in Toronto prompted Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin to announce earlier this month that his government would ban handguns if he were re-elected in the Jan. 23 elections.