A 12-year-old boy has been taken to a Toronto hospital in serious condition after officials say he was shot multiple times at a playground at a North York apartment complex.
Emergency crews were called by several residents to the playground area on Falstaff Avenue, east of Jane Street and just south of Highway 401, at around 10:50 p.m. on Friday after hearing gunshots.
“A few shooters on foot … in the playground area did discharge a few rounds and subsequently they left in a vehicle,” Insp. Andy Singh told reporters early Saturday.
Singh said the victim was found by officers a short time later. A Toronto Paramedics spokesperson said the boy sustained serious, but non-life-threatening injuries. Singh said in his update that the boy was stabilized after being treated for gunshot wounds.
He said police investigators and Toronto Community Housing security were working to pull surveillance video and speak with witnesses to get a more fulsome description of the suspects involved and where they might have gone.
“We have officers from 12 Division and the surrounding divisions not only canvassing for video and witnesses but also checking the area to see if they can find any pieces of evidence,” Singh said.
“It’s a very nice night. People might have been on their balconies, might have seen what might have transpired here, so we ask those people to come forward.
“We’re lucky there’s not more injuries because this did happen near a playground, so that really drives it home the senseless nature and really the brazen nature of what these suspects have done and that’s where we need the assistance from the community.”
Toronto Mayor John Tory released a statement on the shooting Saturday afternoon, calling it an “absolute tragedy.”
“I am thankful this young boy is in hospital recovering and my thoughts are with him and his family during this traumatic time,” he said.
“I know Toronto police are working hard to arrest the suspects responsible for this shooting and I urge anyone with information to help police bring the people responsible to justice.”
Tory went on to say that while the number of shootings in Toronto have gone down this year, there is “still an unacceptable level of gun violence in Toronto and cities across Canada.”
Tory noted the City of Toronto is awaiting details on a federal crime prevention funds.
He also called for law reform relating to bail and sentencing for firearms offences.
“While there is not yet any connection between that issue and this case, there are still far too many instances in which people who carry and use guns are thumbing their nose at the law because they can,” he said.
Anyone with information on the shooting was asked to call police at 416-808-1200 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.
— With files from Ryan Rocca