The hunt is on for two armed and dangerous men after yet another incident of gunplay on the TTC, this time involving a 17-year-old boy who was shot and pistol-whipped as up to a dozen terrified commuters watched in horror on a bus in the city's west end.
Toronto Police say the violent altercation unfolded shortly after 1 p.m. yesterday when the southbound bus stopped on Oakwood Ave., just south of Vaughan Rd., at Ashbury Ave.
"The victim boarded the bus, went to the rear of the bus, and noticed the (two men)," Const. Tony Vella said at the shooting scene, explaining the victim knew his attackers.
The two assailants and the victim made their way to the front of the bus, where "a verbal altercation broke out."
The exchange of words quickly became physical and one of the two attackers pulled out a gun.
"It seems like a targeted shooting," Vella said.
It's believed at least one shot was fired on the bus, but it's not clear yet if that was the bullet that hit the victim.
The bus doors opened and the violence spilled out onto the street where the victim was further beaten and then pistol-whipped, Vella said.
The two men, one of whom is believed to be armed with a handgun, then took off on foot heading south.
There were as many as 12 people on the bus, including the driver, Vella said.
"They were definitely emotionally affected by this," he said of the innocent passengers. "But nobody else was hurt, so that's a bonus here."
The victim, whose name and age were not immediately available, suffered a gunshot wound to the hip.
He was taken to Sunnybrook hospital. The teen, who is co-operating with police, remained in serious condition last night but he was expected to survive.
Police issued a warning to area residents along Oakwood Ave., which was shut down for several hours, to keep their doors and windows locked as ETF officers and police dogs search alleys and backyards for the assailants, who are considered armed and dangerous.
"You're not safe anywhere any more, not even in your home," said Lousia Violo, who arrived with her grandkids after the shooting and was shocked to hear what had happened out front of her house.
"All I hear lately is shootings, shootings, shootings," she added. "It's very scary."
Only a month ago, on Jan. 22, a 19-year-old man was wounded in a shooting at Osgoode subway station.
After that incident, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair promised to increase the police presence on the TTC system in an effort to deter criminals and help passengers feel safer.
"It's certainly concerning," police spokesman Mark Pugash said of the violence on the TTC. "But people need to keep in mind that the system remains very safe."
He pointed out the reason TTC shootings garner so much attention is because "it does not happen very often."
Close to 40 new officers will begin patrolling TTC buses, subways, streetcars and stations in May.
The gunman in yesterday's shooting is described as about 40, with a medium black complexion and about 6-foot-1 with a thin build and facial hair.
The second suspect is believed to be in his early 30s with a dark complexion, and about 5-foot-9 and clean-shaven. Anyone with information on yesterday's shooting is urged to call police at 416-808-1300, or Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS.