TORONTO — A real estate agent shot at a crowded Toronto restaurant over the weekend laughed at his attacker right before bullets were fired, the establishment's owner recounted Monday.
"Ha ha, very funny," Simon Giannini said moments before a gunman started shooting at him, restaurant owner Michael Dabic told reporters.
"He thought it was some joke," Dabic said.
Giannini was at Michael's on Simcoe, a restaurant in downtown Toronto, on Saturday night with a friend when a man in a hoodie and baseball cap walked inside and briefly looked around, Dabic said.
Police said Giannini, 54, was targeted.
About 140 patrons packed the restaurant at the time, Dabic said, the entire area busy with the Toronto International Film Festival in swing nearby.
Dabic said one of his managers immediately approached the suspect when he entered the restaurant shortly before 9 p.m. because his clothing didn't fit the upscale restaurant's dress code.
"He said he was just looking for a friend," Dabic said.
The suspect then strode directly to Giannini, who was sitting with his back to the approaching man, Dabic said.
Dabic's daughter, who works at the restaurant, was standing several metres from the table when she heard Giannini's comments before bullets flew, he said. The man in the hoodie shot twice, then stepped back and shot twice more, he said.
"It lasted 20 seconds," Dabic said.
Giannini was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said.
The restaurant's employees are struggling, said Dabic, who wasn't there at the time but showed up within 30 minutes to help his staff deal with the overwhelming situation.
"Some people will need therapy," he said. "My daughter will need therapy — there are a few other individuals who will need help — it's a shocking situation."
Dabic said they have surveillance video of the entire incident and one of his employees was able to record the licence plate of the car the alleged shooter got into before fleeing.
He described a surreal scene shortly after the shooting when speaking with a fire chief from British Columbia who had been sitting at a table near Giannini.
"He was very calm and he held the victim and he said, 'I felt his last breath,'" Dabic said.
Meanwhile, Giannini's friend will return when the restaurant reopens, which might be sometime later this week, Dabic said.
"He wants to send a message to people like this that he's not afraid and the minute we open he's coming back to sit in the very same spot that he sat," Dabic said.
The incident marked the second time the restaurant has seen a shooting in recent years.
Two years ago two masked men entered the same establishment and shot a man and a woman. Both survived, but suffered serious injuries.
Liam Casey, The Canadian Press