Homicide victim identified after 7 shot in separate shootings Wednesday morning

Seven people were shot, one fatally, in two separate incidents in the early morning hours on Wednesday, Toronto police say. Investigators have identified the homicide victim as Joseph Hart, 50, of Toronto.

Joseph Hart, 50, of Toronto, killed in North York, 6 others injured in Little Jamaica

Emergency crews respond to a shooting early Wednesday morning on Eglinton Avenue West. (Jeremy Cohn)

Seven people were shot, one fatally, in two separate incidents in the early morning hours on Wednesday, Toronto police say.

The victim who died was identified by police Wednesday evening as Joseph Hart, 50, of Toronto.

Officers were called to the scene of the fatal shooting on Stilecroft Drive in North York just before 5 a.m., police said. When they arrived, the officers found Hart with a gunshot wound to his upper body sitting in a parked vehicle. 

 He was taken to a trauma centre where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

A dark-coloured vehicle believed to be involved in the incident was seen travelling eastbound on Stilecroft Drive toward Keele Street, police said.

Investigators believe it was a targeted shooting after speaking with several residents in the area, and they are asking for anyone with information to contact police. 

Homicide investigators believe Joseph Hart, 50, was the victim of a targeted shooting. They're asking anyone who knew him, and had been in contact with him over the past week, to contact them. (Toronto Police Service)

Shooting outside Little Jamaica bakery sends 6 to hospital

Hours earlier, six people were shot in the Little Jamaica neighbourhood, police said. A vehicle pulled up outside a bakery and occupants fired multiple rounds at six people who were gathered in an alcove to seek shelter from the rain.

Supt. Shaun Narine told reporters at a news conference Wednesday that the shooting happened just after 2 a.m at Spence's Bakery, on Eglinton Avenue West. 

Five men and one woman were shot, he said. The victims ranged in age from 30 to 69-years-old.

"Thankfully [for] all the victims their injuries were non-life-threatening," Narine said.

The entrance of Spence's Bakery. Police say a black SUV drove in front of the bakery and shot at people inside. Six people were sent to hospital. (Paul Smith/CBC)

Five of those victims have already been released from hospital, and one will be released later on Wednesday, he said.

Narine said investigators believe this is a "gang-related and targeted event," but he also stressed that the bakery itself has no gang affiliation. He also said that some of the people who were shot were just innocent bystanders, and police don't yet know who the intended target was.

Officers will be on scene today gathering evidence, he said. Police had sealed off a large area and evidence markers were scattered across the ground early Wednesday.

Coun. Josh Matlow called in the shooting "horrifying" in a tweet this morning, adding that gang violence in Toronto needs to be "addressed."

At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Mayor John Tory said those responsible displayed an "absolute disregard for human life."

"This kind of gun violence is absolutely unacceptable," he said.

Six people were shot outside Spence’s Bakery, on Eglinton Avenue West in Toronto’s Little Jamaica neighbourhood, on Sept. 2, 2020 in what police called a ‘brazen’ act of gang-related violence. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Jill Andrew, NDP MPP for Toronto–St. Paul's, also addressed the shooting in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon.

"Little Jamaica is one of the jewels of our city, and Spence's Bakery is an indispensable community institution. People in Toronto–St. Paul's, and everywhere, deserve to be safe in their homes, businesses, and their community," she said. 

"My heart goes out to everyone impacted by the terrible shooting that took place on Eglinton West. This violence has no place on our streets, and our resilient community is coming together to address it.

Police are urging anyone with information or video footage to contact 13 Division or, if they would like to remain anonymous, leave a tip with Crime Stoppers.