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Man dies on way to hospital after shooting in Pickering

A man was pronounced dead in an ambulance after he was shot behind a recreation centre in Pickering early Sunday, police say.

Police found victim with 'obvious signs of trauma' behind Pickering Recreation Complex

Durham Regional Police are investigating after a man died of his injuries following a shooting outside the Pickering Recreation Complex early Sunday. (Colin Williamson)

A man was pronounced dead in an ambulance after he was shot behind a recreation centre in Pickering early Sunday, police say.

Durham Regional Police were called to the Pickering Recreation Complex, 1867 Valley Farm Road, for a reports of several shots fired at about 6:30 a.m. Police are looking for a number of suspects believed to have fled on foot.

When officers arrived at the rear of the building, they found the man on the ground in a parking lot, suffering from "obvious signs of trauma," police said. 

The man died of his injuries while he was on his way to a Toronto trauma centre. He has not been identified yet.

Durham police are canvassing a large area for evidence as they search for clues in the region's third homicide of the year. (Colin Williamson)

Homicide detectives are investigating. Officers, including canine units, are canvassing the area for evidence. The crime scene has been taped off and a command post has been set up.

Police have large area to search

Witnesses are being interviewed and police are reviewing video obtained from nearby businesses and residences.

"We have a large area to cover and a large area to search," Insp. Glen Courneyea, spokesperson for the Durham Regional Police, told reporters on Sunday.

Courneyea said the shooting is disturbing and he noted it occurred shortly before people began arriving at the centre's front entrance for a hockey tournament, which continued on Sunday despite the death.

"It's concerning any time use of force or anytime a firearm is used in the commission of an offence," he said.

Police have not said what they think may have led to the shooting.

As well, police do not have any descriptions of the suspects and do not know which direction they were headed. No weapon has been recovered.

Police were called to this recreation centre at 6:30 a.m. after receiving reports of shots fired. (Colin Williamson)

Const. George Tudos says police may have to wait for a post-mortem to be conducted and for fingerprints to be analyzed before they are able to identify the victim.

Unmanned aerial vehicle maps crime scene

"Right now, there are a lot of unknowns," he said.

He said calls to police suggested that up to a dozen shots were fired, and several people were seen fleeing the area but police do not how many.

"This is going to take some time before we can piece together who we're looking for," he said.

Tudos said police are using an "unmanned aerial vehicle" to map the crime scene. It will provide aerial photographs that will aid the investigation. 

Police said the death is Durham region's third homicide of the year.

Anyone with information is urged to call Det. Thorne or Det. McDermott at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 5223.

With files from The Canadian Press