By Julia Hennessey
The Kensington Market community was back to its peaceful self just two days after three men were wounded from gun shots fired in an alleyway.
Just after 4:30 a.m. on the morning of Sunday, May 29, police responded to a distress call in Kensington Market. Six shots were fired in an alley near an after-hours club at 213 Augusta Ave., leaving three men wounded.
The events occurred just hours before the first Pedestrian Sunday of the spring, where the streets of Kensington Market are closed to cars and there are food stands, music and performances.
Partial street closure for the police investigation was necessary for a thorough analysis of the site. “There were casings and bullet fragments and blood all over the sidewalk and the street,” said Detective Chris Chilvers, lead investigator on the case. “In order to do a proper forensic investigation, and to make sure that it’s done properly, we need space.”
The gunfire and resulting investigation delayed the opening of nearby businesses. Liv Luna, an employee at La Tortilleria Mexican restaurant, located at 198 Augusta Ave., arrived to work a few hours after the crime had occurred. “We had to open almost two hours late, the street was closed and I wasn’t able to open the store” she said.
The effect on Kensington Market’s stores, restaurants, and cafes was temporary. Later that day, it was business as usual. “People started to come here,” Luna said, “eating and everything, two hours later.”
The violence is especially unsettling given the reputation Kensington Market has for peaceful, community-oriented activity. However, according to Luna, the event did not defeat the positive energy of Pedestrian Sunday. “Sunday was, as always, packed with people. A lot of people having fun, eating outside, walking, dancing.”
This type of crime is so out of the ordinary for Kensington Market that most visitors to the neighbourhood probably did not even realize the shooting had taken place, she said. “It’s not something common, this is the first time I know of something like this happening.”
Michael Vit, employee at Funky Junky furniture store, located at 206 Augusta Ave., up the street from the site of the shootings, holds firm on Kensington Market’s reputation for peacefulness. “I don’t think it will change what people think of Kensington Market, it’s still a good area” he said. “This is an isolated incident, as far as I’m concerned.”
None of the victims’ injuries were life-threatening. One man was hit in the arm, and another in the leg. The third man suffered a more serious injury when he was struck in the stomach. All of the victims were taken to a local hospital.
Police currently have no suspects but are conducting a full investigation into the incident and following up on leads.
Police are requesting the public’s help with the investigation. Numerous patrons may have witnessed the event and fled before giving a statement to police. If you have any relevant information contact 14 Division at 416-808-1400.