Toronto police Chief Bill Blair at Toronto police Hq., on Tur. July 17/12 speaks to media of the 23 people shot at a Morningside Av. Barbecue on Monday night.
Credits: Dave Thomas/QMI AGENCY
TORONTO - In the wake of yet another high-profile shooting, Toronto's top cop maintains the city is not spiralling into another Summer of the Gun.
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said the mass shooting that left two dead and 21 wounded Monday was the worst incident of gun violence in the city's history.
But he said it's "not indicative" of the turmoil Torontonians endured during the infamous summer of 2005.
"This level of violence is something we have never experienced," Blair said Tuesday at the scene.
That summer seven years ago was given the dubious distinction -- the Summer of the Gun -- after 24 people were shot dead in Toronto from June 12 to Sept. 16. By year's end, a whopping 52 people were killed by guns.
So far this summer, there have been just six murders. But, all of the victims were shot.
Of the 28 murders so far in 2012, 19 have been by guns.
While this year's homicide numbers are a far cry from the 2005 stats, it's the drastic increase in gunplay that recently raised concern among some media, politicians and citizens about the possibility of Summer of the Gun II.
So far this year, there have been 140 shootings in the city, up more than 30% from the 106 in 2011.
And in 2012, 175 people have been wounded by gunfire, more than a 40% increase over the 124 who were shot last year.
Over the last six weeks or so, bullets have been flying in the city almost daily and there have been numerous very public shootings.
The recent spate of violence touched off June 2 when a gunman opened fire in a crowded Eaton Centre food court, killing Nixon Nirmalendran, 22, and Ahmed Hassan, 24, and wounding five bystanders, including a 13-year-old boy who was shot in the head and narrowly survived.
On June 18, there was the broad daylight execution of John Raposo, 35, at a cafe in Little Italy, which was teaming with Euro Cup soccer fans at the time.
Then, on June 30, a two-year-old girl was shot in the leg as her family left a barbecue in North York.
Barely 24 hours later, a 21-year-old man was wounded by gunfire at Woodbine Beach where thousands of people had been watching a Canada Day fireworks display.