TORONTO — Canadian rapper Drake has broken his silence on a deadly shooting at an after-party for his music festival at a downtown Toronto nightclub 10 days ago.
In a statement posted to his website, October's Very Own, he said he has been in a "moral bind" because his advisers and lawyers worried that anything he said could be misinterpreted, but he is "choosing to follow (his) heart."
Two people were killed and three others were injured after shots were fired Aug. 4 at the crowded Muzik nightclub, after Drake's OVO Fest.
Drake, born Aubrey Graham, writes that his "deepest condolences" go out to the families of Ariela Navarro-Fenoy, 26, and Duvel Hibbert, 23, who were killed in the shooting.
"The last few days I have been in a moral bind," he begins in his blog post.
He laments the "violence that continues to escalate" in his hometown of Toronto and says it is Torontonians' "public responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of one another."
"I stare into the eyes of so many young people and I wish to see them all shine as bright as they possibly can in this lifetime," Drake wrote.
"I encourage my generation to show as much value and gratitude as you can for the lives we have been gifted. My deepest condolences go out to the Navarro-Fenoy and Hibbert families for their loss of Ariela and Duvel."
Police said they are looking for two suspects in the shootings.
It remains unclear whether Drake was in the club when the shooting began at about 3 a.m. Hibbert was gunned down inside Muzik in a targeted attack. Police have refused to answer that question and Drake didn't address it in his blog post.
At a news conference earlier in the week, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders was repeatedly asked about Drake.
He said investigators have received very little information from the thousands of people who were at the club that night who might have been witnesses. Saunders said he wanted people to "do the right thing" and talk to police.
Navarro-Fenoy was an innocent bystander, according to the police chief, when she was shot and killed outside about a block away. Her family has demanded answers and also asked Drake to speak out.
After the shooting, the club said in a statement that its last patrons of the night were exiting the building as gunshots were heard. The club said it had over 70 security guards on duty and that visitors were inspected with metal-detecting wands.
Police said there were "high-profile entertainment figures" at the party, but said they could not confirm whether Drake and rapper Kanye West were there at the time of the shooting. Both earlier performed at Drake's OVO Fest at a concert venue not far from the club.
"I pray for better times and better understanding," Drake wrote at the end of his statement.