Man arrested in connection to Toronto playground shooting that sent 2 girls to hospital
Police say they have arrested one man in relation to a shooting in a Toronto playground that left two children seriously injured in the city’s east end.
Officers said they arrested 21-year-old Sheldon Eriya on Friday and charged him with two counts of attempted murder as well as several other charges.
Police and paramedics said they were called to a residential complex in the McCowan Road and Steeles Avenue East area at around 5 p.m. on Thursday.
WATCH: Two girls recovering in hospital after shooting in Scarborough playground
They said two sisters, five and nine years old, were both shot and rushed to the Hospital for Sick Children. Initially, one of the girls was listed as in critical condition, but police later said both were in stable condition.
Police released a surveillance image on Friday of a black four-door Nissan Versa that was allegedly seen driving away from the scene.
They said one of the suspects got out of the car and opened fire at a man in the park where around 11 children were playing.
On Friday, Supt. Mark Barkley said a vehicle was found near Liverpool and Kingston roads. However, he would not confirm if it was the same vehicle sought by investigators.
Mayor John Tory commended police for the arrest Saturday afternoon and said they will put away anyone carrying a gun.
“We’ve got to get these people off the street and serve notice to everybody else who carries a gun and who would even think of doing such a thing,” he said.
“They’re going to be rounded up and we’re going to make sure that they’re put away.”
WATCH: Police said two girls, ages five and nine, are in good health after being shot in broad daylight Thursday
Albert Tsui, a neighbour in the area, said his wife called him at work on Thursday fearful for her safety.
“They felt bad because they felt scared. I said if you really feel unsafe — because we didn’t know what happened — stay in the basement,” he said. “I met with the girls’ father last night and he told me that the two little girls will be recovering very soon and very stable now.”
The girls’ family requested privacy in a statement released through Sick Kids.
“We wish to send our thanks to the entire community for the outpouring of support during this crisis. The response has been overwhelming and we can’t express our gratitude enough.
“A very special thanks to the police officers and staff of 42 Division, Toronto Chief of Police Mark Saunders, and Mayor John Tory for their tireless efforts and for working round the clock.
“At this time the focus is on the recovery and rehabilitation of the girls. We ask that you keep them in your prayers for a speedy recovery and would kindly like to ask for privacy at this time.”
Police said Eriya’s charges include two counts of aggravated assault, discharge of a firearm, possession of cocaine for the purposes of trafficking and possession of the proceeds of a crime.
Officers said they are still searching for two other suspects involved in the incident.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 416-808-4200 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.
— With files from Shallima Maharaj
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