A man who was walking his dog early Sunday north of Toronto was shot at 13 times in a “callous act of violence” after he gestured at a speeding vehicle, York Regional Police say.
The man, 65, is now in critical condition in hospital fighting for his life and the attack has stunned the small community where he lives.
Police are seeking two people in connection with the drive-by shooting, which happened in King Township near the Town of Schomberg, west of Newmarket. Officers were alerted at 8:40 a.m.
Insp. Jim Killby, spokesperson for York Regional Police, said officers are appalled at the shooting.
“We as a policing organization are stunned at this callous act of violence,” Killby told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday.
“This was a cowardly act, a cowardly, violent act, against a victim who was doing nothing more than enjoying the morning and walking his dog in the area for exercise.”
WATCH | Police release video of suspect vehicle in drive-by shooting:
According to Killby, the man was walking his dog on Centre Street, between Rebellion Way and Church Street, when he saw a vehicle travelling at high speed.
The vehicle passed him and he “innocently” gestured and shook his head. The area, known as Lloydtown, is residential and rural, Killby said.
Police said the driver sped past him, then turned around and drove at the man.
“The front passenger fired several times from a firearm at him, leaving him in critical condition,” Killby said.
Police would not say how many of the shots actually struck the victim.
‘This is attempted murder’
“This wasn’t a simple case of somebody getting cut off. This was an individual that rolled down his window and fired 13 rounds at an individual that was walking down a road,” he said.
“It’s not a road rage incident. This is attempted murder. And our victim is lucky to be alive.”
The suspects then fled the scene in the vehicle and were last seen heading west. Paramedics arrived and took the man to hospital. Police have not yet been able to speak to the man.
The shooter is described as a “light, brown skinned, tanned male.”
Police said the vehicle is a white SUV, possibly a four-door Lexus RX350. Officers have recovered video of the vehicle. Officers have been told that the suspects may have been driving around the area prior to the shooting, he added.
Killby added: “This, unfortunately, is just another example of the illegal possession of firearms that occur in community and the violent acts that are committed with these firearms that are plaguing our communities.”
Police are urging anybody who has surveillance or dashboard camera video from Feb. 12, between 8 a..m. and 9 a.m. in the area, to call them.
Meanwhile, people in Schomberg, a community of about 3,000, say they’re shocked.
Richard Fowle, a resident, said he is passing on a video to police of a white Lexus that matches the description of the vehicle investigators are seeking. He said the images are from Feb. 7 and the occupants of the vehicle were trying to break into cars at about 3 a.m. It’s up to police to determine whether the video is related, he added.
Fowle said there has been a rash of “brazen” thefts of vehicles in the community recently. The shooting, however, has rocked the town, he added.
“It’s obviously concerning. You don’t expect that in a neighbourhood like this. Hopefully it’s not a sign of the times. Something like this happening here is obviously unusual,” he said.
He said Schomberg is a “fabulous” town in which most people know their neighbours.
“Most people move out into these areas because they want that sense of community. It’s a small town, a sense of feeling of community within the GTA.”