'It's senseless': 2 children rushed to hospital after shooting at Toronto playground
Published Thursday, June 14, 2018 6:00PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 14, 2018 9:41PM EDT
Two children have been rushed to a Toronto hospital after a playground shooting in a Scarborough housing complex.
Paramedics on the scene told CTV News that the children are sisters, ages 5 and 9, but their injuries are no longer life-threatening.
Officers were called to the McCowan Road and Steeles Avenue area in Scarborough around 5 p.m. Thursday. The victims were taken by ambulance to Sick Kids Hospital, nearly 30 kilometres away, in downtown Toronto. Det. Sgt. Jim Gotell called the incident “a very brazen attack on two young girls” and confirmed to reporters that the youngest of the two was in serious condition.
Police believe that 11 children were playing in the park when a man stepped out of a car in a nearby parking lot and started firing into the park with a handgun.
“While the gunfire was ongoing, two young girls were shot,” said Gotell, noting that a “male adult” who was in the park is believed to have been the intended target. Police are looking for both the driver of the vehicle and a male suspect who fired the weapon. They are also looking for the intended target who has not come forward to police.
Gotell had a message for the suspects: “We’re coming for them.”
Ontario Premier-designate Doug Ford tweeted about the incident Thursday evening. “My thoughts and prayers are with them and their families,” he wrote. “I will be monitoring the situation closely.”
Toronto Mayor John Tory called the incident “a totally unacceptable act of gun violence” in a statement released Thursday.
“I want no stone left unturned in dealing with this,” he continued. “I cannot imagine the anguish the family and friends of the two girls shot while playing in a park are experiencing tonight. This entire city wants these girls to make a full recovery and this entire city wants justice for them.”
Speaking with reporters at the scene, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders called the incident “despicable.”
“Some cowards came into this neighbourhood and opened fire into a playground,” he said. “This act is despicable and rest assured that we’ll put the adequate resources on to resolve this one.”
Police canvassing the neighbourhood and watching video taken at the scene. There are reportedly several surveillance cameras in the area. “We are going to do anything and everything we can to restore safety in this neighbourhood,” said Saunders.
Nurse Stacy London said she had just arrived home from work when the shots rang out. A neighbour rushed up to her for help providing first aid to the victims before paramedics arrived.
“Everyone was around and there (were) two kids on the ground,” she said. “Very small kids.”
Neighbours were using napkins to try to stop the bleeding. London told CTV News that one child was shot in the leg and a second child shot in the abdomen. A third child received an “extremely minor” injury unrelated to a gunshot, officials said.
One witness told CP24 that he heard eight gunshots. “I thought it was fireworks,” he said, “but at this time of the day, I doubted it.”
Another man told CTV News that he was upstairs in his bedroom when he heard a series of shots. He looked up and saw a car with tinted windows drive away. “I came out and three little ones were hit,” he said. Paramedics confirmed that two children were taken to hospital.
“It’s senseless,” he said.
In response to a question about whether Toronto has a problem with guns, Saunders said there has not been a “tremendous spike” in incidents. “It happens every single year,” he said. “I’m not here to say ‘all is well.’ Anytime that someone is motivated to use a firearm I have great concerns for that.”
SHOOTING UPDATE: Two children, ages 5 and 9, are being treated in hospital for their injuries. Police are on scene on Alton Towers, continuing the investigation ^mg— Toronto Police (@TorontoPolice) June 14, 2018
Heard about the two children shot near McCowan Road and Steeles Avenue. My thoughts and prayers are with them and their families. I will be monitoring the situation closely.— Doug Ford (@fordnation) June 15, 2018
Today’s shooting is a totally unacceptable act of gun violence. I have spoken to Chief Mark Saunders and he has assured me that Toronto Police are doing everything possible to catch those responsible for this despicable crime.— John Tory (@TorontosMayor) June 15, 2018