As gang violence reportedly increases in Toronto, Canada, an upcoming 21-year-old rapper has now been shot dead. Smoke Dawg was one of two male victims shot on Saturday night on Queen Street West. A woman was also wounded in the shooting but apparently is expected to survive her injuries.

The Globe and Mail notes that many high-profile and popular rap artists from Toronto have taken to social media to express their shock and condolences, including Drake, with whom Smoke Dawg had regularly appeared on stage.

Canadian rapper shot dead in Toronto

Smokey, as he is commonly known, has become Toronto’s 49th shooting or homicide victim since the beginning of January 2018.

Toronto Police report that gun violence took 24 of those victims, announcing that gun violence is increasing in the city. In the whole of 2017, there were 16 shooting-related deaths.

The incident happened in the centre of Toronto’s entertainment district near Peter Street on Queen Street West at 8 PM. Two men, including Smoke Dawg, were shot dead. A third female victim was taken to hospital with serious injuries, which are not considered to be life-threatening. Police say witnesses spotted two suspects in the shooting running from the scene and they may have used either a white car or a Black SUV as an escape vehicle. Police continue to investigate the crime in an effort to identify the shooters.

Toronto authorities blame gang violence for shooting

The city’s mayor, John Tory, along with Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders, has blamed the recent surge in gun violence on increasing gang activity in the city. NME quotes news organization CP24 as saying several witnesses heard the gunshots and that the incident happened outside the Cube Nightclub in the popular Toronto entertainment district.

Rappers take to social media

Mustafa sent out a tweet to say “Smokey is gone” and added that their prayers will follow the young rap artist into heaven. Fellow Canadian rap star, Drake, also took to Twitter, saying “Drake via his IG story. RIP Smoke Dawg.”

NME reports that Smoke Dawg is one of several rising rap stars from a downtown area of Toronto called Halal Gang. He first rose to fame in 2015 with his song, “Still.” Smokey also collaborated with French Montana and Skepta. He then headlined for Skepta and Drake at a gig in London during February 2017.

The rap star released his latest work earlier last week, which he titled “Fountain Freestyle.” Smoke Dawg was also working on recording his first full album. RIP to a talented young rap artist.