Police have released a surveillance image of a vehicle of interest they say was involved in a shooting at a Toronto playground that seriously injured two children in the city’s east end.
Toronto police said they are looking for two suspects who drove away from the scene of the shooting in a black four-door Nissan Versa sedan with a model year between 2007 and 2011.
During an update Friday afternoon, Supt. Mark Barkley said a vehicle was found near Liverpool Road and Kingston Road earlier in the day. He wouldn’t confirm if it’s the same car sought by investigators.
WATCH: 2 girls recovering in hospital while community reels after shooting at Scarborough playground. Kamil Karamali reports.
“We continue to pursue every possible investigative lead to look for, identify and apprehend all persons involved with what transpired here,” Barkley said.
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.
Authorities said two sisters, who are five and nine years old, were both shot and rushed to the Hospital for Sick Children.
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.”
VIDEO: Toronto police looking to speak to children and parents in playground at time of shooting
Gotell said investigators are looking to speak with the man in the park.
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders told reporters Thursday evening said both girls 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.”
Toronto Mayor John Tory addressed the shooting on Friday at city hall and made it clear those responsible will be caught and face swift justice.
“Those who would fire into a playground with full of kids playing, with so little care, don’t deserve to be among us here in the society we are building in Toronto and elsewhere in our country,” Tory said.
“I say that to all of those involved in the gun violence in our city, and the gang subculture and the guns, you will be caught. You will face the full weight of the justice system and you will not terrorize our city and our neighbourhoods that are within it.”
Tory also called out Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack for saying that the hiring of additional police officers are just band-aid measures and more leadership is needed.
“I found it very regrettable with the almost obscene haste with which he moved to politicize this issue, I think within minutes of this tragic shooting taking place, I didn’t think that was something that he would astute to do,” Tory said.
“We’re in the process right now of hiring over the course of this year, 200 more police officers. We’re in the course of taking a number of steps including providing other less lethal options to police officers and things like that to try — and additional training to de-escalate situations that are difficult. And you heard this morning that I expect to see from the police service aggressive action taken to take down these gangs and guns in our city.”
Ontario premier-designate Doug Ford told reporters at a press conference at Queen’s Park on Friday that the shooting of two injured girls is heartbreaking.
“We have a bunch of thugs running around the city with guns shooting people. My prayers and thoughts go out to their families and the two little kids. It’s heartbreaking,” Ford said.
“You can’t even comprehend what the families are going through. These innocent two little kids being shot in the streets of Toronto? What’s the city coming to?”
He also vowed to provide future funding to Toronto police to tackle gun violence in the city.
“We’re allocating millions of dollars to Toronto and Ottawa police to be able to fight guns and gangs,” Ford said. “Once we catch these thugs and these cowards, that they get locked up — they get locked up for a long time.”
Anyone with information or surveillance video is asked to call police at 416-808-4200 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.
VIDEO: Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders provides update on two children injured in playground shooting
— With files from Nick Westoll