Suspicious package investigation prompts evacuation at East York elementary school
Toronto police at an East York elementary school on May 22, 2019 following an investigation into a suspicious package.
Chris Fox, CTV News Toronto
Published Wednesday, May 22, 2019 12:05PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 22, 2019 1:51PM EDT
Staff and students at a Moore Park elementary school are now allowed to return to the classroom after two suspicious packages were found outside the building on Wednesday morning.
Police say that they were first called to Bennington Heights Elementary School at around 9:30 a.m. after staff located a black suitcase that had been left unattended behind the building.
“There was a note on top of it that indicated that there was a bomb inside. So they contacted police,” Insp. Jim Gottel told CP24 on Wednesday afternoon.
Paramedics, firefighters, and several officers responded to the school along with members of the chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives (CBRNE) unit.
“We conducted a controlled explosion on the package to make sure there was nothing inside that could harm anybody,” Gottel said.
Officers discovered that the only item inside the suitcase was a rock.
A second controlled explosion was conducted on a box labelled fireworks that was also found on school property.
Officers determined that there was nothing inside that package.
The police investigation prompted the evacuation of the school as well as a daycare inside the building.
The evacuation order was lifted shortly before 1 p.m. after officers conducted a thorough search inside and outside the school in addition to the roof of the building.
“At this point in time, really it was nothing. We’ve turned the matter over to investigators because obviously whoever did this we believe meant it as a joke or to disrupt the school,” Gottel added.
“But there are some serious consequences to this because a great number of officers, Toronto Fire Service, Toronto paramedics, were placed on standby as a result of this and we’ve spent the last three hours working on it so we are going to conduct an investigation.”
He said officers have seized video from the area and forensic officers will be inspecting the packages, which remain relatively intact.
“We have video of a person who was seen carrying a suitcase,” Gottel said. “Obviously that person would be probably somebody that we would be interested in but it is too early to speculate on that.”