York University students launch $20.5M lawsuit over campus shooting

ABOVE: Global’s Sean Mallen has the latest on the lawsuit York University students are bringing against the school 

TORONTO – York University is being hit with a $20.5 million lawsuit from eight students as a result of a shooting incident at the school last month.

“It is our allegation and contention that York University does not prioritize the security of their students,” said lawyer Jeremy Diamond during a press conference Thursday.

Among the claimants include two female students who were injured when a gun was fired at the food court in York’s student centre on March 6.

One of the victims, 19-year-old Qurratul Ain Malik, suffered serious injuries when she was shot in the leg.

“Now I’m stuck at home and unable to move,” Malik told reporters. “I have a bullet still lodged in my leg and I don’t know if it will cause worse problems for me later on in my life.”

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Malik’s friend, Namra Malik, was sitting beside her when she was hit by shrapnel.

The students allege police arrived at the scene before on-campus security and that the university has not done enough to improve campus safety since the shooting.

READ MORE: York U shooting: How do you prevent violence on campus?

Even after the firefighters and the police came to the scene, there was no sign of York security personnel anywhere,” said Malik.

“I really feel betrayed and let down by the university. I haven’t gone back since, to campus. I have no trust or confidence when it comes to my security and my life.”

The victim’s lawyer says the two women injured are suing for physical and emotional distress. The remaining six bystanders are suing on the basis of psychological issues following the incident.

Kemon Edwards, 22, was identified by Toronto police as the shooter and faces multiple charges, including discharging a firearm and aggravated assault.

Police believe the two women were not targeted.

The shooting prompted a campus lockdown which was lifted after the police investigation ended.

York University’s President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri issued a statement shortly after the incident which prompted an increase in security patrols and Toronto police presence for the duration of the week.

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The university has been criticized in the past for its security in light of numerous on-campus sexual assaults.

“Our allegation is that steps and measures could have been taken and they have not,” said lawyer Sandra Zisckind.

“Such as swipe cards, such as having a better patrol system, better security cameras.”

York University spokesperson Joanne Rider tells Global News the school will not comment on the lawsuit but that they “empathize greatly with the survivors” and the school has made “many enhancements” to “provide a safe environment” for students.

“Statistics prove that York is as safe, or safer, than other campuses in the Greater Toronto Area,” Rider said in a statement.

“York University is proactive and diligent in its approach to ensuring its campus is safe, including working closely with Toronto Police Service.”

WATCH: Amateur footage shows the moments following the shooting at York University. WARNING: Video contains graphic images which may offend some viewers. Discretion is advised. 

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