Arrest in Distillery District, where officer shot vehicle multiple times, investigated
Mayor concerned about 'very public' nature of gunfire
Toronto's police chief says the force is investigating after an officer fired multiple gunshots into an allegedly stolen car in the Distillery District yesterday.
Chief Mark Saunders said the officer — who was captured on video firing 14 bullets into the engine block of the car while other officers scambled to arrest the 60-year-old suspect behind the wheel — hasn't been suspended at this time.
"There needs to be an investigation conducted," Saunders said, noting some specialized officers are specifically trained to look into shootings.
The shooting took place around 1 p.m. near a public space at Parliament and Mill Streets. Dozens of witnesses saw the dramatic arrest and many said they were shocked by the gunfire.
"I take that seriously," Saunders said.
Mike McCormack, President of the Toronto Police Association, said the shooting posed "no threat to the public" because the officer was so close to the vehicle.
Earlier Thursday, police spokesman Victor Kwong said the suspect, who faces multiple charges, was known to police and had 173 convictions related to vehicles.
In one case, the suspect had led police on a chase, injuring one officer who was dragged behind his car. It's unclear if the officers responding to yesterday's call knew that information.
Kwong said the suspect has been banned from driving nine times.
Mayor John Tory, meanwhile, said he was concerned by the "very public" event but would hold his opinions about what happened until the incident it has been investigated.
"Anytime a gun is discharged in the city it's a cause for concern … whether it's noon or it's midnight," Tory said.
Saunders and Tory were at Toronto police headquarters for a board meeting, which in part discussed use of force in situations where someone is going through a crisis.