'Some Joke': Owner says Real Estate Broker Laughed at Shooter First
The owner of the Toronto restaurant where a real estate broker was shot dead says the victim laughed at his killer moments before the fatal shot rang out.
Michael Dabic, owner of the restaurant “Michael’s on Simcoe,” says his daughter heard a brief exchange between the unknown assailant and 54-year-old Simon Giannini, moments before Giannini was fatally shot. Dabic says his daughter was working in the restaurant at the time, and was “about 10 feet away” from the shooting.
“When the assailant approached Simon, the victim, she heard Simon say something like ‘ha ha ha, you’ve got to be kidding,’ or ‘ha ha ha, very funny,’” Dabic told reporters on Monday. “He knew it was coming and he thought it was some joke.”
Police say the shooter shot Giannini twice before beginning to walk away, and then returned and shot him twice more. They said they believe the shooting was targeted, but they have not released a possible motive.
One of the witnesses, Mick Sullivan, told CTV Toronto that he came face-to-face with the shooter as he exited the restaurant.
“We locked eyes and then I looked down and I’d seen the gun,” Sullivan said. “He had his hoodie up and he fortunately didn’t shoot us, he just ran by us.”
The suspect fled the scene in a white SUV heading west. Witnesses said the shooter was wearing a dark-coloured hoodie and sweatpants.
Dabic says the restaurant has clear security footage of the shooting, and that an employee recorded the licence plate number of the vehicle in which the suspect fled.
Giannini was a successful real estate broker in Toronto.
Real estate agent Vijayan Krishnan, who worked with Giannini, says he was a passionate and humble man.
“It’s a great and huge loss, not just to our office, but to his friends and family, and to his clients as well,” he told CP24.
“The truth is, he was the greatest guy I’d ever met,” Giannini’s friend Marco Kyris told CTV Toronto. “We’re all suffering today.”
Marco Long, a longtime friend, said he was “baffled” about why someone might target Giannini. “We just can’t figure out what it is,” he said.
James Dubro, an organized crime expert, said someone likely helped the gunman locate Giannini inside the restaurant, and believes the shooter was a professional hitman.
“There are lots of reasons to have someone killed or it could be about money -- certainly always about money,” he said.
This was the second shooting to occur at Michael’s on Simcoe in the past two years, although the two incidents are not connected.
“I didn’t think lightning could strike twice, but it did,” Dabic said.