Scarborough shooting: 2 dead, 20 injured

TORONTO, Canada - Two people were killed and about 20 injured, including an infant, in a late-night shooting at a Toronto street party, raising fears of a rise in gun crime in Canada's largest city.

Police said it was too early to say what prompted the shooting, which took place barely six weeks after two people were killed and six wounded in a gang-related weekend shoot-out at a downtown shopping mall.

A young man and a young woman were killed in the latest shooting, police said. Many of the injured were hurt in the panic that ensued after shots were fired at around 10:40 p.m on Monday.

One of the injured had been taken into custody as "a person of interest" in the police investigation.

"This is the most serious crime of its kind to ever take place in the city of Toronto," Police Chief Bill Blair told reporters on Tuesday at a pre-dawn news conference at the scene.

The shooting took place in the eastern district of Scarborough, about 20km (15 miles) from downtown. Police said more than one shooter was involved.

"An infant was injured by gunfire," said a visibly shaken Blair. "But I have been advised that the injuries are not life-threatening."

One eyewitness told CityNews TV that the shooting took place at an annual barbecue block party that had been scheduled for Sunday and then moved to Monday after heavy weekend rainstorms. Police said they had unconfirmed reports that more than 200 people were at the party when the shooting occurred.

"It's difficult to describe," said Blair. "It's very shocking. A lot of innocent people were injured tonight."

The shooting is already raising fears about the use of guns in a city that takes pride in its relatively low crime rate compared with U.S. urban centers. Canada has very strict laws controlling the use of handguns.

"I am shocked and disgusted by this senseless act of violence," said Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in a statement.

Six weeks ago Ford described the downtown mall shooting where two people died as an isolated incident in "the safest city in the world".

(Reporting by Euan Rocha and Frank McGurty; Editing by Myra MacDonald and Janet Guttsman)