The victims of a brazen shooting in a quiet Newmarket residential neighbourhood Friday night were likely targeted, York Regional Police believe.
The identities of the Toronto man, 26, who died in hospital and a Toronto woman, 23, who remains in hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, are not being released at this time, Const. Andy Pattenden said at a news briefing on Colter Street in the Sawmill Valley Road area near Mulock Drive and Yonge Street today.
Police are searching for two male suspects who drove up to 791 Colter in a dark-coloured, four-door sedan, and exited the vehicle to shoot at the victims, who were in their SUV in the driveway, before fleeing at about 9 p.m. The driver was wearing a long-sleeved dark shirt, Pattenden said.
A white Ford SUV, with its passenger door open, remains in the driveway today, with at least a dozen forensic markers indicating shell casings on the driveway and grass.
Police are appealing for witnesses who might have seen anything in the area, and for anyone who may have been driving in the neighbourhood and captured the dark-coloured vehicle on their dashcams, to come forward.
"Anyone around 9 p.m. on Yonge Street south of Mulock that might have been driving with a dashcam that might have seen a four-door sedan, dark-coloured — black maybe — driving from this area, we would appreciate hearing from you. We are also appealing to the person who ... drove right by this house as the shooting occurred, driving in the opposite direction," Pattenden said.
The victims were not residents of the house, which is listed on Airbnb.
Police crime scene tape remains up around the house and surrounding homes and street, and residents can expect increased police presence throughout the day as police continue their investigations.
"As we've seen recently in York Region, gun violence has no municipal boundaries. This is just another case where someone has brought guns into York Region and is not afraid to use them. We need the public's help — and that's one of the best things here in this community, we do have the support from the community," Pattenden said.
"We will figure out who these people are and I am urging the suspects at this time to seek legal counsel and turn yourselves in. If you're going to try something like this in a residential neighbourhood in York Region, we do have a lot of cameras around here, we'll capture image and figure out who you are."
"Gun violence will not be tolerated in York Region," Pattenden said, adding he is echoing the comments of Chief Eric Jolliffe regarding the "marked rise" of crimes with handguns.
A neighbour, Cliff, who lives directly across from 791 Colter, said, "I heard the last couple of shots and then a lot of screaming and yelling."
He hasn't had any concerns about the short-term rental property prior to this incident.
Colter residents Bruno Tassone and Paula Vittiglio said they were shocked when they returned to their home last night at about 11 p.m. and observed the emergency vehicle lights and police vehicles.
"Last night, we were really worried," said Vittiglio, "our main concern was can we go to bed and be safe?"
"It's pretty shocking," added Tassone, saying the street is normally quiet and they were unaware the house was being rented. "I moved here (from Toronto) because of safety."
Vittiglio added the officers who were going door to door last night "were great, they answered our questions and didn't ignore our concerns — they reassured us that we were safe."
If you have information, call 866-876-5423 ext. 7865.