Bullet misses student during 'random, bizarre' Toronto high school robbery
Published Thursday, March 7, 2013 2:38PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, March 7, 2013 9:42PM EST
Police have found a car matching the description of one used in a brazen robbery at a Toronto high school, in which a student was shot at and another reportedly had a gun held to her head.
Investigators seized a 2006 blue four-dour Toyota late Thursday, which was allegedly stolen two days ago.
Five people were also arrested as part of a robbery investigation, but it’s unclear if any were among the four suspects wanted in Thursday’s school incident.
Police say four young men burst into Thistletown Collegiate Institute Thursday afternoon, brandishing at least one gun and stealing cellphones from two female students.
When the suspects attempted to rob a male student, the teen fled the school and was shot at in the parking lot. The bullet missed the student and hit a nearby car, police said.
One student told CTV News Channel that his cousin was in the school’s music room when “some guy came in with a gun” and aimed it at her head, demanding her cellphone.
No one was injured in the melee, but the students who encountered the robbers are “traumatized,” Toronto Police Supt. Ron Taverner told reporters.
“It’s very bizarre, very disturbing that this type of situation would take place,” he said.
“This whole incident is beyond belief in some ways. It appears to be a total random act, a violent act that could have been much, much worse than it turned out. My goodness, it’s terrible.”
Taverner said there is no indication that the students were targeted or that the suspects had any connection with the school.
The school was in lockdown as many frantic parents arrived to pick up their children.
Police said all four suspects were black and in their early 20s. They were wearing dark clothing and hoodies and some of them were masked, so witnesses could not get detailed descriptions, Taverner said.
“Obviously these people are armed and dangerous,” Taverner said.
He said Thistletown Collegiate takes security “very seriously,” and there was even a so-called school resource police officer in the building at the time of the incident. That officer was in a different part of the school when the robbery occurred, but she was the first one on the scene, Taverner said.
More than 50 uniformed officers subsequently arrived at the school.
Taverner said the suspects were able to get in through secure doors because it was lunchtime and students were coming and going.
“When random acts like this happen, how do you stop them or control them?” he said.
Police block off the area in front of Thistletown Collegiate Institute with police tape after a shot was reportedly fired outside the school on Thursday, March 7, 2013.
Toronto Police Superintendent Ron Taverner speaks to the media outside Thistletown Collegiate Institute following a shooting, Thursday, March 7, 2013.
Police cruisers are shown at Thistletown Collegiate Institute after a shot was reportedly fired outside the school on March 7, 2013. (@jr_Armogan/Twitter)
Police are shown at Thistletown Collegiate Institute on Thursday, March 7 after a shot was reportedly fired outside the school.