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'You will not terrorize our city': John Tory says of playground shooting
Published Friday, June 15, 2018 6:00AM EDT Last Updated Friday, June 15, 2018 6:25PM EDT
Mayor John Tory says that the person or persons responsible for the “despicable” shooting of two young girls at a playground in Scarborough on Thursday afternoon “don’t deserve” to be members of the Toronto community.
The victims, ages five and nine, were shot while on a playground in the vicinity of McCowan Road and McNicoll Avenue at around 5 p.m.
Toronto paramedics initially told CP24 that the five-year-old was taken to hospital in critical condition, while her nine-year-old sister was transported with non-life-threatening injuries. Police, however, later confirmed that both girls were in non-life-threatening condition.
At a news conference held at city hall on Friday morning, Tory said that he has told Police Chief Mark Saunders that he wants “no stone left unturned” in identifying and arresting the shooter or shooters.
“I, along with every single Toronto resident without exception, want this shooting solved and want the people responsible for it brought to justice,” he said. “Those who would fire into a playground where kids are playing with so little care don’t deserve to be among us here in the society that we are building and I say that too to all of those involved in the gun violence in our city: You will be caught, you will face the full weight of the justice system and you will not terrorize our city and our neighbourhoods.”
Police locate suspect vehicle
Police have said that they believe the intended target of the shooting was a male who was at the park at the time.
They say that the suspect fired at least seven shots and then left the area in a vehicle. The suspect vehicle was later located by officers in the area of Liverpool Road and Highway 2 in Pickering.
That vehicle is described as a black, four-door Nissan Versa sedan with a model year between 2007 and 2011.
“As a father and a grandfather I can’t imagine the anguish of those little children not really understanding what happened to them,” Tory said on Friday, noting that he hoped to visit the family of the victims later on in the day. “We all want these girls to make a full recovery and we wall want justice for them.”
Union boss says time has come to address officer shortage
Thursday afternoon’s shooting is just the latest in a series of incidents of gun violence that have sent shockwaves across the city.
On May 28, tech entrepreneur Matthew Staikos was gunned down in Yorkville and two days later 18-year-old Pickering resident Israel Edwards was shot dead in Yonge-Dundas Square.
Speaking with CP24 on Friday, Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack said that a reduction of police officers through attrition has meant that cops are often going “from call to call” and have no time for “proactive policing.”
He said that there are 600 fewer Toronto police officers on the streets today than there were four years ago.
“We have been talking about this for so long,” McCormack said. “I don’t want to be here saying our thoughts and prayers are with the next victim and the next family. Let’s stop with the platitudes and see some action that is going to have results and be positive for the city.”
McCormack said that he is “outraged and angered” by Thursday’s shooting.
For his part, Tory accused McCormack of politicizing the issue during his news conference, specifically referencing a message he posted to Twitter on Thursday night questioning his leadership.
“I found it very regrettable, the almost obscene rate at which he moved to politicize this issue almost within minutes of this tragic shooting taking place. I just didn’t think that was something he would stoop to,” he said. “Having said that, we are in the process right now of hiring 200 more police officers over the course of this year.”
Victims were students at nearby school
The victim’s in Thursday’s shooting both attended The Divine Infant Catholic School, located a short distance away from the scene.
In a statement issued on Friday morning, the Toronto Catholic District School Board said that supports have been put in place for staff and students as “they try to process what has happened.”
“These supports will remain in place as long as needed,” the statement says. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who continue to be impacted by this tragic event.”
There have been a total of 181 shootings so far in 2018, which is an 18 per cent increase from 2017.