Vaughan condo shooting: Five dead in Toronto

Suspect killed after exchanging fire with police officers in Canada

A police officer looks out from the lobby after a fatal mass shooting at a condominium building in the Toronto suburb of Vaughan, Ontario, Canada December 19, 2022.   REUTERS / Carlos Osorio     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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A police investigation is under way after five people were shot dead at a residential building near Toronto, Canada.

A gunman attacked the building in Vaughan, just north of the city, on Sunday evening. He was shot dead by police, York Regional Police said.

A sixth victim is in hospital and is expected to survive, police officials said.

"Horrendous scene," said police chief James MacSween, who added there is no remaining threat to the local community.

Residents were able to return to their homes after being told to evacuate the area.

"It's very concerning, it's a terrifying way to come home," condo resident Arnaldo Carol told Global News.

The suspect was not identified and it is unclear if he was a resident of the building.

There was no immediate comment from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or officials in Ontario province.

Mass killings are rare in Canada, which has much stricter gun control laws than the US.

Saskatchewan province was rocked by a mass stabbing in September, which killed 11 and left 19 wounded in an attack on 13 different locations on an indigenous reserve and the nearby town of Weldon.

Ottawa has proposed further gun restrictions following recent attacks in the US, including the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which left 19 children and two teachers dead in May.

 A woman and her daughter place a heart on a fence at a growing memorial in front of the Debert School in Debert, Nova Scotia, after Lisa McCully, a teacher at the school, was killed in a mass shooting.

“We need only look south of the border to know that if we do not take action firmly and rapidly it gets worse and worse and gets more difficult to counter,” Mr Trudeau said after the shooting, as he introduced legislation to freeze handgun sales and imports.

The move has sparked debate in Canada. Mr Trudeau said he was "open to tweaks" to the proposal and that society must "draw the line" on gun control rules.

"We have, right now, guns that are on the line, that are probably more powerful or more convenient than you'd really need for hunting. And as a society, we have to figure out where that line is going to be" he said in a recent interview with Canadian Press.

"There isn't a single Canadian anywhere out there that doesn't want to see less gun crime, that doesn't want to see safer communities. We're all united on that."

Twenty-two people were killed in Novia Scotia in 2020, in what was Canada's worst mass shooting.

It banned assault weapons after the tragedy.

A pregnant woman and a school teacher were among the victims of a 13-hour shooting spree across 100km of countryside, where the gunman shot victims and set fires at 16 different locations.

The gunman, who masqueraded as a police officer, was later killed by police on horseback.

In 2018, two people were killed and 13 wounded when a gunman opened fire on restaurants in the city, before turning the gun on himself.

Although the rate of gun violence is lower than the US, it is higher than in other developed economies.

Gun killings reached a peak in 2020, at a level not seen since at least 1997, according to Statistics Canada.

Updated: December 20, 2022, 6:32 AM