Shooting victim wanted to be youth worker, family says
Anthony Smith, 21, of Toronto was fatally wounded outside a club near King and Portland streets
A 21-year-old man who was fatally wounded outside a downtown Toronto nightclub, and later died, was a college student who wanted to become a youth and child care worker, his family and friends told CBC News.
Anthony Smith, of Toronto, was shot twice in the back of the head in the early hours of Thursday outside the Loki Lounge on King Street West, just east of Portland Street. A second man was also shot, and left in hospital.
Many were gathering to remember Smith at the home where he lived with his parents, two brothers and two sisters near Islington Avenue and Dixon Road Thursday night, his sister Kamelia Taylor told CBC News.
Smith went to Seneca College to study visual arts, but planned to transfer programs and become a child and youth care worker, she said.
The 21-year-old was also an avid basketball player whom the other kids in the neighbourhood looked up to, said Abdifatah Warsame, a youth worker in the area and family friend who watched him grow up.
Homicide detectives continue to investigate Thursday's shooting, which they say was targeted.
The shooting happened outside the Loki Lounge on King Street West, just east of Portland Street on Thursday morning. Toronto police were called to the scene at approximately 2:40 a.m. Large pools of blood were visible on the sidewalk.
Two men were found suffering from gunshot wounds and rushed to hospital. Hours later, one of the victims succumbed to his injuries.
Police later identified the deceased as 21-year-old Anthony Smith of Toronto. He was known to police.
Warsame told CBC News that Smith was known because of a minor charge, that was later dropped.
On Thursday afternoon, Det.-Sgt. Graham Gibson told reporters that Smith succumbed to his injuries shortly after noon.
Gibson said the surviving victim was awake and speaking with members of his family in hospital.
The CBC's Trevor Dunn reported that bullet casings left over from the shooting littered the sidewalk on Thursday morning.
Investigators worked at the crime scene through much of Thursday, combing the area for any evidence related to the double shooting. Eventually, members of the fire department were seen washing away the pools of blood from the sidewalk.
Victims were at club before shooting
Police believe the two victims started their evening at the Loki Lounge, but were hit when shots were fired across the street later in the night. Gibson said the two victims knew each other.
It also appears that they were targeted, but as Gibson told reporters: "I don't know at this point why."
Gibson said that officers have been out canvassing the area and attempting to obtain any relevant security camera footage.
He said investigators would like to speak to any witnesses who were at the nightclub, anyone who saw the suspect vehicle.
The CBC's Charlsie Agro reported that the event being held at the Loki Lounge on the night of the shooting was organized by the same promoter that saw recently shots fired at a different event it arranged at a strip club in Brampton, Ont.
Police are currently seeking a suspect who was believed to be wearing a red hoodie and may have fled the scene in a silver car.
Too many nightclubs in the area, councillor says
Coun. Adam Vaughan says it's no coincidence the violence started outside a club, adding there are far too many in the area.
"When they reach a certain concentration, [it] becomes extremely volatile late at night," he said.
There is now a moratorium on new clubs along that section of King Street West.
Vaughan wants tighter regulations, and many residents agree.
"Get the clubs out of here," said resident Mark Garber.
Garber says he heard multiple shots at 2:30 a.m. and ran to his window to look at the scene.
King Street West was closed to traffic in both directions between Bathurst and Spadina early Thursday and TTC streetcars were diverting around the area to Queen Street West.
Police re-opened the street to vehicle and TTC traffic just after 7:30 a.m.
With files from the CBC’s Jeff Semple, Charlsie Agro, Trevor Dunn and Tony Smyth