Kindergartner injured after man allegedly came to playground and started swinging curtain rod
TORONTO -- A kindergarten student was left with serious injuries after a man allegedly came to a school playground north of Toronto and started randomly swinging a curtain rod, police say.
York Regional Police said they were called to Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Elementary School, located in East Gwillimbury, on Jan. 15 at around 1 p.m. after a man came onto the property holding a curtain rod.
Police allege the 30-year-old man, who lives with cognitive impairment, walked to the school property. The suspect allegedly hopped over a fence around a playground where kindergarten students were on recess and began swinging the curtain rod, striking five-year-old Kingsley Corson.
“A guy attacked me,” the five-year-old told CTV News Toronto outside his school on Thursday. “He was running down the street, he jumped over the fence and then he banged me with a stick.”
School staff and a Good Samaritan were able to remove the rod from the suspect and get the students back in the school, police said.
The boy was taken to the hospital, his father said, where he was diagnosed with a mild concussion.
“He had a big gash on his head and he got a few staples,” Tyler Corson said.
“He’s a tough kid. I’m thankful [the rod] didn’t catch him in the neck or hit him in the face, take out an eye,” he said. “It’s a bump on the head but it could be a lot worse.”
Debie Brazeau said that her 10-year-old daughter was outside when she heard a woman yelling “stop, stop.” Brazeau's daughter told her that a volunteer parent monitor yelled for the kids to go inside.
“The parent volunteer monitor, she took this man down, she tackled him to the ground and probably saved a lot of other children from being injured.”
The man has since been charged with aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, possession of a weapon for dangerous purpose and common nuisance – endangering life.
The York Catholic District School Board said in a statement on Thursday they are taking the situation "very seriously" and the school's safety plan is now being reviewed.
"Recognizing that this incident may have been traumatic for students and staff, a support team has been assembled at the school and will remain in place for as long as they are needed," the board said.
"It is regrettable that any students were injured in this incident. We are very thankful that the quick and courageous actions of our staff helped to prevent other students from being harmed."
The school's principal, Van Quinn, sent a message to parents on Wednesday to notify them of the situation.
"There was an incident outside the school in the kindergarten yard that resulted in one of our students being hit by a passerby," Quinn said.
"This person lives in our community with his family, and has special needs. York Regional Police and Paramedic Services of York Region were immediately called to the school. The injured student was taken to hospital as a precaution."
Police said the suspect has been held in custody.