TORONTO — A shooting that started at a Toronto nightclub event hosted by rapper Drake and then spilled outside onto the streets left at least two people dead and three others wounded, police said. It wasn't clear if Drake was present during the shooting.
Toronto Deputy Police Chief Peter Sloly said shots were fired inside the Muzik nightclub on the Exhibition Place grounds in downtown Toronto, despite a large police presence outside the venue. The shooting took place at about 3:20 a.m. Tuesday when the nightclub was shutting down.
Sloly said at least one victim was shot inside the club, before the shooting moved outside.
"This was a brazen, large-scale, ongoing firearm incident where our officers and members of the public were directly in the line of fire," Sloly said. "We are very lucky that this is not a larger body count, quite frankly."
The club said in a statement that its last patrons of the night were exiting the building as gunshots were heard. Spokesman Jeff Chatterton said the lights were on, the music was off and the club had stopped serving alcohol 90 minutes earlier. The club said it had over 70 security guards on duty and that visitors were inspected with metal-detecting wands.
Police said no arrests have been made, but Inspector Peter Moreira said police are looking to talk to two persons of interest.
Moreira said up to 4,000 people were in and around the club and there was a "crush" of people leaving in "quite a hurry."
Sloly told a local television station there were "high-profile entertainment figures" at the party, but he couldn't say whether Drake and rapper Kanye West were there at the time of the shooting. Both earlier performed at Drake's OVO Fest at a concert venue not far from the club. Muzik hosted the after-party. Chatterton said he understands the two were not at the club when the shooting occurred but said they were definitely at Muzik earlier in the night.
Representatives for Drake didn't respond to messages seeking comment.
Moreira said the victims were a man and woman in their early to mid-20s. The man was pronounced dead on the patio of the club. The woman was found about a block away; Moreira said it "appears she didn't have a role to play in any of the events of the shooting." Police declined to release their names.
Three people were hospitalized with various injuries and one female has been treated and released. One of the injured men flagged down an ambulance several blocks from the club and police believe he was helped to that location. Sloly said their injuries are not life-threatening.
Sloly said police fired no shots.
"Our officers were present when the initial shots went off. They were within meters of the initial shooting," he said. "Literally our officers were running toward live-fire incidents."
A similar incident occurred in front of Muzik last year when a 28-year-old man was shot after OVO Fest.