Toronto shooting victim's grandfather pleads for witnesses

The grandfather of one of two people killed in Monday's brazen shooting in Toronto's east end is pleading for anyone with information to come forward as police continue to search for those involved.

"No more hiding, no more secrecy. What you know, let it come forward so my granddaughter's death won't have to be in vain," Tyrone Charles said at a Tuesday evening vigil at the home where Shyanne Charles lived.

The 14-year-old girl was killed along with Joshua Yasay, 23, of Ajax, Ont., after police say a dispute between two individuals at a crowded block party erupted into gunfire. More than 20 others were injured.

Charles said it was time to take a stand.

"Save other kids like her from the same gun violence," he said. "Us, parents in the community, we could do more."

The shooting, which occurred near the intersection of Morningside Avenue and Lawrence Avenue East around 10:40 p.m. Monday night, has shocked residents of the city.

Toronto police Chief Bill Blair said Wednesday that the city has made some progress over the last several years in combating violence through a combination of policing and investments in the community.

However, there are still people who are prepared to use weapons in an indiscriminate manner in "isolated" incidents, Blair said.

Those events, including the "unprecedented" shooting on Monday, can threaten citizens' sense of safety.

"When violence takes place in a public way, it touches all of us," he said.

Police seek photos, videos

Police officers are seeking out information from the public, including the more than 100 people who attended the party on Danzig Street, as they search for anyone responsible for the attack.

Investigators say they have received some co-operation from witnesses and are specifically asking for anyone who took photos or video of the shooting to come forward.

"There will be lots of time for us to reflect on what last night's violence means in the context of the safety of our entire city, and I think that kind of reflection will be important," Blair said Tuesday evening. "Right now, we are absolutely focused on solving this crime."

However, a number of people approached by CBC News said they were hesitant to speak with investigators or the media.

"I've seen what happened in my old area," one man said. "People were killed for that stuff, for talking to reporters and police and stuff like that."

Officers are investigating whether gangs were involved in the shooting but warned that there is a potential for retaliatory violence.

One person of interest has been taken into custody. Police have said more than one weapon was used and a gun was recovered from the scene.

'It's hard to believe'

Hundreds attended the vigil Tuesday evening as mourners, some carrying candles or flowers, sang and cried together.

One of the Shyanne's friends, Natasha Wong, described her as a nice, outgoing girl.

"Now that she's gone, it's hard to believe," she said at Tuesday's vigil.

Yasay, who also died in the shooting, was working for a security company and had recently graduated with an honours bachelor of arts in criminology from York University. He also coached basketball and had volunteered with the Learning Disabilities Association of Toronto for two years.

The surviving victims ranged in age from a 22-month-old toddler, who received a “grazing injury,” to a 33-year-old man, police have said. One man remained in critical condition in hospital as of Tuesday afternoon, police said.

The brazen attack comes in the wake of a number of other high-profile shootings, including one at Toronto's Eaton Centre that left two people dead.

And on Tuesday night, Toronto police were investigating another shooting death in the city's west end. A man in his 40s was shot and killed in a parking lot.

With files from The Canadian Press