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Toronto police to boost presence after firearm discharged outside of Jewish elementary school

Paul Krawcyz, an inspector with the TPS' gun and gangs task force, speaks to reporters after a Jewish elementary school in North York was shot early Saturday morning. Paul Krawcyz, an inspector with the TPS' gun and gangs task force, speaks to reporters after a Jewish elementary school in North York was shot early Saturday morning.
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Toronto police say they will increase their presence in certain neighbourhoods after a firearm was discharged outside a Jewish elementary school in North York on Saturday morning.

The Toronto Police Service (TPS) responded to the area of Dufferin Street and Finch Avenue West just before 5 a.m. for reports of shots fired at Bais Chaya Mushka Elementary School.

Responding officers discovered evidence of gunfire, the service said. No injuries were reported.

"I completely understand that this can cause concern and fear and anxiety in the community, especially when it happens at a school like this," Paul Krawcyz, an inspector with the TPS' gun and gangs task force, told reporters Saturday.

"The Toronto Police is going to ensure that community safety is of utmost importance as we always do," he continued.

Residents in some neighbourhoods should expect an increased police presence, the inspector said. 

Since the shooting, Krawcyz said police have fielded questions of whether the offence could be a suspected hate crime or act of terrorism, but said it was too early in the investigation to determine. He noted that the hate crime unit is supporting the investigation.

Following news of the investigation, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) issued a statement calling the incident a "clear, calculated, and premeditated targeting."

"The fact a school was targeted regardless of whether kids were present or not represents another worrying escalation in the violence Jewish Canadians have been experiencing, the statement reads. "We’ve continuously been raising awareness of the troubling increase in antisemitic incidents that are becoming more violent and threatening. The stress and anxiety this creates for the Jewish community cannot be understated, but it is also of utmost importance that we continue to take part in Jewish life."

Ontario Premier Doug Ford responded to the incident, posting a message on X that read: “This is a gross display of antisemitism. It’s beyond belief that anyone could be this hateful. Every student deserves to feel safe at school.”

“These cowards need to be found and brought to justice,” Ford added.

Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow, also in a post on X, said she’s horrified about the incident, which she called “a despicable antisemitic act.”

"Jewish children and families should not be made to fear for their safety. Toronto Police are increasing their presence around religious schools and synagogues. I am in contact with the Chief about the plan to keep children and families safe,” Chow said.

Both the premier and the mayor urged anyone with information to contact police.

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