Innocent bystander killed in bowling alley shooting remembered as a 'beautiful soul'
Toronto police have identified a man and a woman fatally shot at a North York bowling alley on Saturday night.
Thanh Tien Ngo, 32, and Ruma Amar, 29, were shot at the front entrance to Playtime Bowl and Entertainment, 33 Samor Rd., near Dufferin Street and Lawrence Avenue West in north Toronto shortly after 10 p.m., Homicide Det. Rob Choe said on Sunday.
Ngo was targeted by two gunmen, Amar was not, he said. Police believe the two victims did not know each other and Amar was not known to police.
Ngo was pronounced dead at the scene late Saturday while Amar died of her injuries in a trauma centre early Sunday.
Amar, at the bowling alley with her husband and younger sister, was caught in the crossfire as she was leaving. Police said she was near Ngo, the intended victim, when she was shot.
The shooting caused a "bit of frenzy" among the many patrons inside the bowling alley, Choe told reporters on Sunday. Patrons scattered after the shooting.
Police are seeking three suspects. The getaway driver and two men, armed with handguns, were seen fleeing the scene westbound in a dark vehicle.
Victims found on ground outside
Bullets shattered the front glass doors of the bowling alley and bullet holes could be seen in the glass. Blood and evidence markers were still visible at the scene on Sunday morning.
On Saturday night, police received several 911 calls about the shooting, Choe said. When officers arrived at the bowling alley, they said they found the victims lying on the ground outside.
Both were suffering from gunshot wounds.
Ngo, who was shot several times, did not have vital signs. He was not conscious and not breathing.
Toronto paramedics pronounced Ngo dead at the scene while they rushed Amar with critical injuries to a Toronto trauma centre, where she died.
Next of kin has been notified.
Choe said the gunmen chased Ngo, who was with at least one friend, and one gunman nearly entered the business.
"We have reason to believe that the male victim was pursued into the bowling alley," he said.
"What we know thus far is that Mr. Ngo at one point was within the bowling alley, socializing, had left the bowling alley and then was pursued inside by his assailants."
The motive for the killing is not known.
Ngo and Amar are Toronto's 13th and 14th homicide victims of the year. Autopsies on the bodies were scheduled to be performed on Sunday.
Patrons return to collect valuables left behind
Investigators have already interviewed about 10 to 15 eyewitnesses and are collecting surveillance camera footage.
Patrons, still in their bowling shoes, came back to the scene on Sunday to collect valuables left behind.
Paolo Cortes, 22, of Mississauga, Ont., was in the bowling alley's VIP section at the back when the shooting began. He did not hear the gunfire but saw people running toward the back.
He and his friends had just ordered shots, but in the confusion, the waitress dropped the shots.
"All of a sudden, people were running," he said.
"We did not expect this to happen. We literally grabbed our stuff and ran."
Patrons were hiding behind cars immediately after the shooting, he added. He and his friends left out the back entrance.
Cortes returned to the bowling alley on Sunday to retrieve his regular shoes and cellphone.
Zachary Bloom, another patron, said he didn't hear any shots but he did see pools of blood.
"It was brutal. It was a rough night," he said. "As soon as the back door was opened, people were rushing out. Everyone just ditched their stuff and ran because, well, you could die."
Craig Wallace, a third bowler, estimated about 80 to 90 people were in the bowling alley at the time. He said there were families with children in the arcade at the front.
"It was busy," he said.
Police looking for 2 gunmen
No weapons were found at the scene.
Officers have taped off the bowling alley and the area around it to allow investigators to collect evidence.
The bowling alley itself is closed but roads in the area are open.
Choe said the first suspected gunman was believed to be wearing a blue hooded shirt with black shoes.
The second suspect was believed to be wearing a black hooded shirt with black shoes with white soles.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 416-808-7400, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, or text TOR and a message to CRIMES (274637).