Two people were killed and two others injured in a mass shooting on Sunday in Toronto, police said, and Facebook identified one of the victims as a 32-year-old man who was gunned down at Danforth Avenue.
Joshua Yasay was shot in the chest and died of his injuries, the death confirmed by the Danforth Tavern, a tavern where Yusay was a patron.
Yasay “was a much-loved member of our community who did not deserve to die in this way,” bar owner Talia Lazar tweeted.
Nathaniel Miles, who was working at a tattoo shop nearby, said in a phone interview that Yusay walked in and a group started to look at his attire, including the headband he was wearing.
“Somebody looked at his hat, and somebody flipped off,” Miles said. “After that, they got two or three more people who walked in.” Miles said he was getting ready to start work, and witnesses were already saying things like “Dude, I heard 12 people shot. Dude, I heard six people shot. Dude, I heard 20 people shot.”
Miles said the panic in the area, which he described as “very, very tense,” started at the Mud Club Bar.
“They’re saying ‘Get down, get down,” Miles said of the patrons, some of whom he said were crying. “A couple people were over there in the crowd, and I guess they didn’t have a cellphone. People were saying ‘Your life’s over. It’s over. We’re done.’”
Police are urging anyone with information about the shooting to call 855-847-6222, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
The Globe and Mail reported that the suspected shooter, Joshua Yasay, has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
“The evidence gathered so far shows this was an act of extreme violence aimed at members of our community and targeted towards specific people,” police chief Mark Saunders said in a statement Sunday afternoon.
Saunders said members of Toronto’s Muslim community, who gathered in grief at the Toronto Islamic Society mosque shortly after the shooting, will be among the investigators.
Toronto Mayor John Tory, reached by The Washington Post, said he was aware of police concerns over firearms in the city.
“I think it’s important to understand that, as a general point, the bigger problem is guns and that’s not specific to Toronto,” Tory said. “We know there are a lot of guns around, there are a lot of guns in the country in general. So we’re going to have to grapple with this in a national way as well.”
Security camera video and eyewitnesses captured the violence, according to The Globe and Mail.
Yasay graduated from the University of Toronto in May 2015 with a master’s degree in mental health and development studies, said Margaret Fergusson, a spokeswoman for the school.
While Mohamed Elgindy, an Ottawa-based political scientist, posted a remembrance on Facebook of Yasay on Sunday afternoon, the Facebook page linked by The Washington Post to the tribute had no active wall.
Police said that the other two victims of the shooting were seriously injured, and that they were expected to survive.
The Globe and Mail reported that two men were being treated at local hospitals and were awaiting surgery.