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5 killed in ‘horrendous’ Canada shooting

Constable Laura Nicolle talking to reporters. (CTV Network via CNN Newsource)

(CNN) — Five people were killed in a shooting at a condominium in a Toronto suburb Sunday night, police said.

At around 7:20 p.m., officers responded to an active shooting call at the building in Vaughan, a city just north of Toronto, York Regional Police Chief Jim MacSween said during a news conference.

Police found a “horrendous scene where numerous victims were deceased,” MacSween said. A surviving victim who was shot was taken to a hospital in serious condition, police said in a news release.

The male gunman was shot by an officer during a confrontation and died, the chief said. Police have not released the shooter’s name.

Police will not publicly name the victims until their families are notified of their deaths, MacSween said. Constable Laura Nicolle told CNN the incident was the “most terrible call I’ve seen in my entire career.”

Nicolle said in an earlier news conference it appears the victims were from more than one condominium unit.

Residents were evacuated while emergency response personnel worked to clear the building and ensure there were no more victims. The residents waited for hours as police cleared the building floor-by-floor, finally returning to their homes after midnight.

A motive in the shooting rampage has not been released and police did not share what led up to the killings. Authorities believe there is no longer any threat to the community.

“We offer our sincere condolences to the victims and their families,” MacSween said.

The York Regional Police’s homicide unit will continue investigating the shooting, MacSween said.

Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit, which is called in when officers discharge their firearm at a person, has been notified of the officer shooting the suspect and will investigate the incident, he said.

Canada: More gun restrictions and fewer gun killings than US

Sunday’s killings come in the wake of fresh moves by Canada’s government to tighten gun control laws in the country, which has more gun regulation and far less gun violence than the US. Citizens may own firearms with a license; some must be registered.

This year, the government tightened restrictions further.

In October, regulations went into effect banning the sale, purchase, or transfer of handguns within Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had announced the changes in May.

“We have frozen the market for handguns in this country,” Trudeau said at a news conference in Surrey, British Columbia, attended by family members of gun violence victims and other advocates, Reuters reported.

“As we see gun violence continue to rise … we have an obligation to take action,” Trudeau added. “Today our national handgun freeze is coming into force.”

Canada’s gun homicide rate in 2019 was one-eighth of the US rate, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Still, Canada’s gun-homicide rate rose for three years in a row, according to Statistics Canada, to 788 in 2021, up 29 from the previous year.

And the country has seen mass shootings and other deadly violence.

Canada’s deadliest mass killing was in May 2020, when 22 people were fatally shot or died in house fires set by a gunman in Nova Scotia.

Less than two weeks later, Trudeau’s government banned more than 1,500 models and variants of assault-style weapons, making their use, sale or importation illegal.

Eleven people died in a mass stabbing attack in September 2022 in Canada’s Saskatchewan province.

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