A friend of the woman who was fatally shot at a downtown Toronto nightclub earlier this week said that cab drivers refused to accept the victim's fare shortly before the shooting.

Franca Abate told CTV News she was with Ariela Navarro-Fenoy, 26, at an OVO Fest after-party hosted by rapper Drake.

Shortly before the shooting early Tuesday morning, Abate said she and Navarro-Fenoy tried to hail a cab on Dufferin Street. She said several taxis were lined up in the area, but each driver refused to take their fare. She said the drivers told her it would only cost $8, and they'd rather wait for a higher fare.

In the City of Toronto, cab drivers are not permitted to refuse service to any customers based on distance to destination, unless it is in a location the driver reasonably believes to be unsafe. Denying the customer a ride based on short travel distance is a violation of municipal bylaws

Cab drivers can also refuse service if the passenger:

  • Owes the driver or owner for a previous fare or service
  • Refuses to disclose his or her final destination before or immediately after entering the cab
  • Is unduly obnoxious or abusive
  • Smokes in the taxicab
  • Fails or refuses to make an advance payment when requested by the driver if a flat rate has been agreed upon

When Abate and Navarro-Fenoy were unable to find a ride, the pair began walking to a nearby parking lot. That was when the gunfire began, Abate said.

Shots were fired in two areas on the Exhibition Grounds as the party wrapped up at approximately 3:20 a.m., police said. Navarro-Fenoy died of injuries after being shot near the Dufferin Gates, while Duvel Hibbert, 23, was fatally wounded inside Muzik nightclub.

Three others were injured in the incident.

The investigation is ongoing, and police are searching for two suspects in connection with the shooting. The first suspect is described as a black male with a skinny build, between 5-foot-10 and 5-foot-11, and between 24 and 28 years old. Police say he was last seen wearing a yellow, burgundy and plaid button-up shirt.

The second suspect is described as a black male, in his mid-20s, and is approximately 6-foot or 6-foot-1. Police said he was last seen with a "fresh buzz cut" and was wearing a light purple sweater with a colourful design on the front.

Police are also asking anyone with photographs or video taken at the time of shooting to upload it online. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 416-808-7400 or Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS (8477).