Toronto

Muzik nightclub shooting: Paid-duty police work suspended pending review

The head of Toronto's police union says he supports the force's move to suspend the use of paid-duty officers at Muzik nightclub, the scene of a shooting last week that left two people dead.

Force suspends use of paid-duty officers at scene of fatal shooting pending security review

Mike McCormack, the head of Toronto's police union, says he supports the suspension of police paid-duty work at Muzik nightclub until a security review is complete. (CBC)

The head of Toronto's police union says he supports the force's move to suspend the use of paid-duty officers at Muzik nightclub, the scene of a shooting last week that left two people dead.

"It's a prudent step to ensure everyone is protected," said Mike McCormack Monday in an interview on CBC Radio's Metro Morning.

The shooting happened just after 3 a.m. last Tuesday as the club at Exhibition Place was starting to empty out after hosting an OVO Festival after-party. One man died in a shooting on the club's patio, and a young woman died moments later in a separate shooting just north of the club on Dufferin Street.

The suspension of paid-duty police work at the club is pending a review of what happened on the night of the shooting and an overall evaluation of the club's security.

Police are looking for two suspects but have not made an arrest in the case. A shooting at the same event last year sent a man to hospital.

The shooting at the packed club happened despite the presence of 70 security guards, about 10 paid-duty officers outside and a number of on-duty officers.

Paid-duty officers are hired by private clients to work as security at construction sites and special events.

McCormack said paid-duty officers were working outside the club when the shooting began. He said security inside the club is the responsibility of the club owner.

"We [Toronto police] do not work directly for the club," he said. "We are outside to present a police presence ... and maintain the public peace when people are leaving the club. Paid-duty officers are not inside. We do not perform the function of security at a club, that's up to the club to provide that security."

McCormack said part of the security review and the homicide investigation will try to determine how a gun was smuggled inside.

He said any review must also address what he calls the "gun culture," in which brazen shooters are quick to open fire in situations where stray bullets could kill or injure innocent bystanders.

"The scary part of this for us is what's going on with the gun culture and how do we get the guns off the street? [The shooters] don't care about police or the public, it's a very scary proposition for them to be going be doing this."

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