Police investigate gun call at High Park-area school, expect to make arrest
Chris Fox, CTV News Toronto
Published Thursday, December 6, 2018 12:05PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, December 6, 2018 7:12PM EST
Police say that they anticipate an arrest will be made in a “very short time” after a former student was reportedly seen with a gun inside Western Technical Commercial School on Thursday morning.
Toronto police were first dispatched to the school, located near Bloor Street and Runnymede Road, at around 10 a.m. after receiving a call about a male who was seen “with some type of firearm.”
The school was immediately placed under a lockdown, along with Ursula Franklin Academy and The Student School, which are both located in the same building.
That lockdown was then lifted at around 2:45 p.m., after officers with the Emergency Task Force (ETF) completed a thorough search of the building.
At one point, there were dozens of police cruisers parked outside the school and at least three ETF teams on the premises.
“Our investigation is still ongoing and we anticipate an arrest in a very short time,” Sgt. Sal Granata told reporters after the lockdown was lifted. “We are going to be actively doing our part on the investigative side in ensuring the person responsible is brought to justice.”
Granata said that police did not recover any firearm but believe the initial report to be genuine based on the accounts of witnesses and what officers “have seen on video.”
He said that the students were not released until the school was searched “top to bottom” and a determination was made that there was no active threat.
One video that was obtained by CP24 shows students huddled in a dark classroom when an ETF member, carrying what appears to be an automatic weapon, enters and does a sweep of the room.
“It was a great job and a safe ending for everyone here involved,” Granata said. “We are thankful of the outcome tonight.”
Some students huddled in cafeteria kitchen
One student who spoke with CP24 earlier on Thursday said that he was inside the school cafeteria when the lockdown first began.
He said that the doors to the cafeteria were all locked and all the students and staff inside were instructed to go into the kitchen.
He said that it took an “an hour or two” until officers entered the room.
At that point, the student had begun feeling ill and was taken outside of the school by police, where he was checked out by paramedics.
“We were all scared,” Yusuf Corbacioglu, who is in Grade 10, said. “It was terrifying.”
Corbacioglu said that students at the school often participate in lockdown drills, where they are told to go to a safe area where they would could not easily be seen and remain quite.
He said that nothing could have prepared him for the events that unfolded on Thursday, though.
“I couldn’t believe this was happening. I was shocked,” he said.
Parents reuniting with their kids after the lockdown was lifted expressed relief.
“I’m happy, very happy, to see them about with no incidents,” Enez Duhaney, a mother, said.
“It’s one of those things you hope never happens to you and never happens to your kids,” another anxious mother, Anna Santos, noted.
Keele Street Public School, Runnymede Public School, Annette Street Public School and Humberside Collegiate Institute were placed under hold and secure orders during the police investigation, though those orders have since been lifted.