Two young fathers were the victims of an early morning shooting in the city's Chinatown neighbourhood on Sunday.

The families of Quinn Taylor, 29, and David Michael Eminess, 26, say they're in shock.

"It doesn't feel real, I don't know what's going on — this is just wrong, this is just wrong," said Brenda McIntyre,  Taylor's mother.

"He just wanted to be happy. He's got a little girl that's at home … she's not even two. I don't understand how any of this can happen to him because he's such a good guy," she added.

Friends laid flowers and wrote farewell messages outside the restaurant where the shooting happened.

Christian Promesse-Chinatown shooting victim's brother in law

Christian Promesse is the brother-in-law of shooting victim David Michael Eminess, who died Sunday morning. Promesse said Eminesse was in the "wrong place, wrong time." (CBC)

Eminess's family told CBC News that he also has a young daughter who just turned two years old. They said he came to Canada six years ago from Trinidad and worked odd jobs. He was going to school and was working to get Canadian citizenship.

"I don't understand how this kind of stuff happens to people like him," said Christian Promesse, Eminess's brother-in-law. 

Promesse said Eminess had gone to the area to watch a game and get a drink. He said the police told him that there was a crowd of people and a fight broke out, and that Eminess got caught in the crossfire.

Memorial Chinatown shooting victims

Friends laid flowers, placed candles and left messages of goodbye near the scene of the shooting. (CBC)

"Wrong place, wrong time," said Promesse.

Eminess's wife Isabella said through tears that he was a good father, husband and son.

"Last night it broke my heart to see her looking for her daddy, and I can't do anything about it," she said of her young daughter.

Three others were injured in the shooting.

Latest in string of homicides

The shootings are the eighth and ninth homicides in Toronto in January.

"I think it's important that people should understand what's going on here. We have some gang activity, where these gangs are engaged in retaliatory activity on each other as part of conflicts they're having in the city," said Mayor John Tory.

Mark Pugash Toronto Police Spokesman

Mark Pugash, Toronto Police spokesman, said poverty and a lack of access to jobs and housing is contributing to the spike in crimes, not necessarily gang activity. (CBC)

Shootings in Toronto have increased by 65 per cent compared to last year. But Toronto police hesitate to label what's happening as a gang war.

"I don't want to get into specifics, but certainly there is a gang element in a number of these and we're working very hard at investigating linkages," said police spokesman Mark Pugash.

Former Toronto Police Detective Sergeant Ron Wretham said he's not surprised at the spike in violence.

"These gang members are not afraid to carry their guns to different places now," said Wretham. "I think by taking away carding and the ability for police officers to be able to actually engage gang members and check to see if they're carrying guns in a legal and ethical way, I think these shootings are going to continue," he said.

"They're happening in public areas, so yeah, it's something you should be worried about," said Wretham.

Like Wretham, the head of Toronto's police union says more clarity is needed on what information officers can gather and how.

"We need to get out there and start investigating and getting that intelligence," said Mike McCormack, the president of the Toronto Police Association. "And how we're going to do that — that's a big question because we have a policy paralysis from the provincial government," he said, referring to the Wynne government's move to end the practice of random street checks.

While Toronto Police acknowledge gangs are playing a part in the spike in violence, they say what's happening involves bigger issues.

"It's poverty, lack of opportunity, lack of access to jobs housing," said Pugash.

Police say they need the public's help in coming forward about crime.

"The city and people of the city have to understand and acknowledge it's a problem for everyone, it's not simply a police problem," said Pugash.