Shot fired when armed robbers hit North York bank
A shot was fired inside a bank during a late Friday morning on Leslie Street north of Sheppard Avenue.
Police allege the three suspects also roughed up a bank employee, leaving the person with minor injuries.
Toronto police spokesperson Const. Tony Vella told CTV Toronto that police originally received an "unknown trouble" call at 11:43 a.m. for the BMO branch at 4797 Leslie St.
The bank is located in a shopping plaza on the east side of the road. There were both customers and staff inside at the time, he said.
All three suspects, described as males, wore masks. One witness said at least one suspect was a skeleton mask or costume. Another said one suspect made a very athletic leap over the bank's counter.
One of the suspects was seen to be carrying a firearm, Vella said.
Investigators confirmed one shot was fired, he said. Vella didn't know if the suspects obtained any cash.
Det. Russ Fairey told reporters at the scene: "They demanded that the vault door be opened. Once it couldn't be opened, for some reason unknownst to us, only to him -- he decided he'd try and shoot the lock off."
The suspects ran eastward down a laneway that leads to the rear of the bank. Vella said police believe they fled in a vehicle.
CTV Toronto personnel at the scene said many people leaving the bank appeared to be quite shaken, with a few screaming and crying. One woman said she thought "that was the end of it," and that she would never see her family again.
One woman was inside with her very young son. Another said she locked herself in an office with another woman.
The incident was over in a matter of minutes.
In a possibly related development, South Simcoe police report three men wearing disguises and armed with a firearm entered a former BMO branch in Barrie about one hour before the North York robbery.
Once they realized it only housed an automatic teller machine, they robbed a woman who was using the ATM, they said in a news release.
"All three males are believed to be tall and slim, from 5'10" to over 6 feet tall. At least two are believed to be black, the other may be white," they said.
"One of the males was wearing a skeleton mask and possibly a skeleton suit similar to a Halloween costume. The other males were wearing hoodies and some type of mask covering their face."
On Oct. 1, a trio of robbers hit an RBC branch located at 901 Jane St., which is a few blocks south of Eglinton Avenue West.
They were reportedly armed with a shotgun and a handgun. A shot was reportedly fired inside the bank in that instance.
With a report from CTV Toronto's John Musselman