Toronto

2 men, 2 youths hurt in shooting at Pickering, Ont., Ribfest

Two teen boys and two men were wounded when shots were fired outside a family event in Pickering, Ont., on Saturday night, Durham police say.

Patrons were leaving the annual event when shots were fired outside Pickering Civic Centre

Police tape around the Pickering Ribfest has been removed after a shooting on Saturday night injured four males. (Natalie Nanowski/CBC )

Two teen boys and two men were wounded when shots were fired outside a family event in Pickering, Ont., on Saturday night, Durham police say.

All suffered non-life-threatening injuries and have been treated and released, police said in the news release. Two victims, aged 17 and 16, are from Ajax. One victim, 20, is from Pickering, while another victim, 30, is from North York.

Durham Regional Police said in a news release on Sunday that the shooting is not believed to be random.

Patrons were leaving the 11th annual Pickering Ribfest in the city on the eastern border of Toronto when the shooting occurred, according to Staff Sgt. Paul Cummins of the Durham police. The event attracts thousands, he added.

Police received a call about the shooting outside the Pickering Civic Centre, at 1 The Esplanade S., shortly after 11 p.m. 

"Several gunshots were heard and fired in the area of the festival," Cummins said. 
A Durham Regional Police officer looks inside a police vehicle outside the Pickering Ribfest on Sunday (Natalie Nanowski/CBC)

"I don't want to say they were shot into the air. I don't know. This is in the early stages of the investigation. And the investigators are still trying to determine exactly what happened," he said.

He said the gunfire erupted "in the general area" of the Ribfest.

According to the Rotary Club of Pickering, which organized the event with the Rotary Club of Ajax, the shooting occurred outside its northwest entrance. The event has resumed on Sunday.

4th victim appeared in hospital later

One of the injured was taken to Toronto's Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Two others were taken to a local hospital.

The fourth appeared at a hospital on his own. Police have confirmed that the fourth male victim had been attending the Ribfest.

Police have not determined whether there was an altercation before the shooting or how many guns were fired.

"The scene was quickly contained," Cummins added. 

Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan said in a tweet that he is "shocked and deeply troubled" by the shooting.

"All levels of government must work together to get these illegal guns off our streets!" he said.

'Commotion' at scene after shooting

Colin Williamson, a freelance news photographer based in Oshawa, Ont., arrived at the scene shortly after the shooting. He described it as chaotic and confusing.

The event was closing and people were leaving the scene.

He said the crime scene was large. 
There is a bullet hole in the back of this black car. Police were examining it after the shooting. (Supplied)

"There was a lot of commotion. A lot of people were still running, a lot of young people, like teenagers, and they were running around everywhere," he said.

Officers were examining two vehicles, a white minivan parked in front of city hall and a black car about 100 metres from all of the activity. The black car had a bullet hole, he said. 

Police interviewing witnesses

According to police, one suspect is described as a male, black, wearing dark clothing.

Officers are interviewing witnesses and victims as they search for clues as to what happened. 

Sophia Levy-Presner, president of the Rotary Club of Pickering, said there were police officers and security guards at the entrance where the shooting occurred. 

Organizers have hired security from EPS Group, a firm based in Ajax, to keep the public safe, she said.

'It's very safe here'

"We're still open for business today," she said. "There was a shooting outside Ribfest. It was outside of the gate. It was pretty much over.

"Everything is a go. There's no reason to stop it. It's very safe here. There are no issues. Ribfest has been going on for 11 years and we've never had a problem before."

Anyone with information is urged to call Det. Debosky of the West Division Criminal Investigations Bureau at 1-888-579-1520 ext 2534. 

Police said vehicles left overnight at the scene can be picked up.