Arrest made in shooting of two young girls at Scarborough playground
Chris Fox, CTV News Toronto
Published Saturday, June 16, 2018 11:30AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, June 16, 2018 6:42PM EDT
Police have made an arrest in the shocking daylight shooting of two young sisters at a playground in Scarborough.
The victims, ages five and nine, were shot while at a playground on Alton Towers Circle in the vicinity of McCowan Road and McNicoll Avenue at around 5 p.m. on Thursday.
The five-year-old girl was initially rushed to hospital in critical condition; however paramedics later said that her injuries were not believed to be life-threatening. Her nine-year-old sister was also listed in serious but non-life threatening condition.
Following the shooting, police said that a suspect or suspects fired at least seven shots into the playground before fleeing the scene in a black Nissan Versa. That vehicle was located by officers in the area of Liverpool Road and Highway 2 in Pickering on Friday.
A suspect, identified as 21-year-old Markham resident Sheldon Eriya, was also arrested in Pickering on Friday. He is charged with seven offences, including two counts of attempted murder.
Eriya made a brief court appearance on Saturday, speaking softly only to say his name and that he understood the charges. His case was put over until June 21.
Police say that they are continuing to look for two other male suspects in the case.
Speaking with reporters on Saturday, Mayor John Tory credited police for bringing about a quick arrest in the case.
“We have got to get these people off the street and serve notice to everyone else who carries a gun and who would even think of doing such a thing. They are going to be rounded up and we are going to make sure that they are put away,” he said.
Tory held a news conference on Friday where he called on police to ‘leave no stone unturned’ in identifying and apprehending the “cowards” responsible for Thursday’s “despicable” shooting.
On Saturday, he said that while the suspects are innocent until proven guilty, it is important that people who are engaged in gun violence are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
“I think it is time for us to be very aggressive in rounding these people up who carry these guns around, brandish guns and use guns and just say ‘You are not going to terrorize this community and you are not going to engage in this sort of unacceptable behavior.’,” he said.
In a news release issued on Saturday morning, police said that members of the public have been “extremely helpful” with the investigation so far.
In another statement issued through Sick Kids Hospital Saturday, the family of the two girls who were injured thanked the community for their support, as well as police for their efforts.
“We wish to send our thanks to the entire community for the outpouring of support during this crisis. The response has been overwhelming and we can't express our gratitude enough,” the statement read.
“A very special thanks to the police officers and staff of 42 Division, Toronto Chief of Police Mark Saunders, and Mayor John Tory for their tireless efforts and for working round the clock.”
The family said that right now their focus is “on the recovery of the girls.”
“We ask that you keep them in your prayers for a speedy recovery and would kindly like to ask for privacy at this time.”
A motive for the shooting is not yet clear, though police have previously said that investigators believe that a male who was in the playground at the time was the intended target.