TORONTO – Toronto police say a man killed in a fatal shooting appeared to use a female bystander as a human shield after gunshots rang out at a downtown seniors’ residence Thursday night.
Det. Sgt. Terry Browne says “disturbing” security video from the scene shows a female resident who was entering the building at the time becoming trapped in the front vestibule with both the shooter and the victim.
Browne says it looks like the shooting victim was trying to use the woman as a shield during the shooting, during which gunshots shattered a lobby window.
The man who was shot has been identified as Nisan Nirmalendran, 21, of Toronto, whom police say they have had contact with in the past, but did not elaborate.
Browne says the woman was not physically injured but was likely emotionally shaken by what happened at the seniors’ complex (on Bleecker Street in the Sherbourne and Carlton area.)
He says the events on the video happened very quickly and that the victim appeared to act “spontaneously” when he put the woman in harm’s way.
“I can’t imagine what’s going through the mind of this person,” said Browne. “Certainly he was fearing for his life and acted spontaneously.”
“It would appear from the images that it looked like he was trying to use her as a shield.”
Investigators are looking for a suspect described as a black male who was dressed in dark clothing and are also seeking a person of interest who was seen with the victim earlier on Thursday evening.
They are also looking for two vehicles — a minivan and a sports car — that were seen leaving the scene shortly after the incident.
Police have released security images from the scene and are urging anyone with information to contact investigators.
Browne confirmed that Nirmalendran’s brother Nixon was one of two people killed in a multiple shooting at the downtown Eaton Centre last June. But he said it’s early in the investigation and police can’t say if the two incidents are connected.