2 girls, ages 5 and 9, seriously injured after shooting at east-end Toronto playground
Toronto police say they’re looking for two suspects after two girls, who are five and nine years old, were seriously injured in a shooting at a Scarborough playground.
Police and paramedics were called to a residential complex near Alton Towers Circle in the McCowan Road and Steeles Avenue East area at around 5 p.m. on Thursday.
The children were rushed to the Hospital for Sick Children by paramedics with a police escort. One of the girls was originally listed in critical condition, but police later said both children were in stable condition.
Det. Sgt. Jim Gotell said one of the suspects got out of a car nearby and began shooting at a man in the park.
“About 11 children were playing in the park when a male approached the park with a handgun and started to fire into the park,” he said.
“There was a subject in the park – another male adult, along with the 11 children – (and) we believe that he was the intended victim of the attack.”
Gotell said investigators are looking to speak with the man in the park.
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders told reporters Thursday evening both girls, who were later identified as sisters, required surgery.
Saunders said police are going to take “aggressive action” to complete the investigation.
“Obviously these two young girls are not the intended target. Some cowards came into this neighbourhood and opened fire into a playground,” he said.
“We are putting every resource on this to make sure that we apprehend the person that would be motivated to do something like this in the city of Toronto.”
When asked about recent violent gun incidents in Toronto, Saunders said it’s something that is seen every summer.
“When we look at our numbers, there’s not this tremendous spike – there hasn’t been. When we do have shooting incidents, they do go in peaks and valleys right across the city,” he said.
“I’m not happy with it, so I’m not here to say all is well. Any time that someone is motivated to use a firearm, I have great concerns for that.”
Mayor John Tory said in a statement he has spoken with Saunders about the shooting and said he wants “no stone left unturned” by officers.
“Today’s shooting is a totally unacceptable act of gun violence,” he said.
“This entire city wants these girls to make a full recovery and this entire city wants justice for them. I know the police will do all they can to arrest the cowards responsible for hurting these girls.”
Premier-designate Doug Ford said on Twitter Thursday evening that he was monitoring the situation.
“Heard about the two children shot near McCowan Road and Steeles Avenue. My thoughts and prayers are with them and their families,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, as of Thursday night, a description of the suspects and the vehicle driven wasn’t released by police.
Anyone with information or surveillance video is asked to call police at 416-808-4200 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.
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