Civilian killed, police officer injured in east end shooting

The Special Investigations Unit has been called in to investigate after a police-involved shooting that left one person dead and an officer injured.

Police-involved shooting left 1 dead, 1 officer injured after being shot below the heart

The SIU has been called in after a person died following an interaction with police in Toronto's east end. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

The Special Investigations Unit has been called in to probe a police-involved shooting in Toronto's east end that left one person dead and an officer injured after being shot.

A Toronto Police spokesperson told CBC News that police responded just before midnight to reports of a person with a gun on Hymus Road, in the Warden Avenue and Eglinton Avenue East area.

The Toronto police spokesperson said that when officers arrived on the scene, one of the officers had an interaction and shots were fired.

One person was transported to a trauma centre but didn't survive. Danny Villeneuve of Toronto Fire, who was present at the scene, told CBC Toronto he was shot in the leg and chest. 

The SIU is called in to probe cases that involve police that lead to a death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.

The officer who was shot, was hit just below the heart but was wearing the required Kevlar vest, said Mike McCormack, president of the Toronto Police Association.

"He's in good condition. Obviously he's quite shaken up," said McCormack. "Thank God for his bullet proof vest and luck."

Concern over rise in gun violence

McCormack said his association was concerned by the recent uptick in gun violence in Toronto, connecting the issue to an understaffed police force.

"The willingness for somebody to shoot a police officer. That's really speaking a lot to what's going on in Toronto right now," he said.

As of June 3, the city had seen 175 shootings, according to the latest police data.

If the pace of shootings continues then it will be the fourth straight year that Toronto has seen the number of shooting victims increase.

In 2015 there were 429 victims; in 2016 there were 581 and in 2017 there were 594.

This year there have been 215 victims, so far.

Over the last three years the number of shooting victims has steadily increased to surpass Toronto's 2005 "Year of the Gun," when 52 people were killed by firearms and 359 people were shot.  

Chief says proper gear for cops is 'critical' 

Police Chief Mark Saunders addressed the shooting during an appearance on Thursday morning.

"I'm here to say that our officer is okay," said Saunders, adding that it's "critical" for police to have proper equipment like Kevlar vests.

Saunders also spoke about the surge in crime, saying that Toronto is still an "incredibly safe city." 

He said that the Toronto police are actively hiring to expand the force, with the hope of hiring 200 new staff members by the end of the summer.

With files from CBC's Tony Smyth