Gavin Trevan was having a nap Saturday afternoon when he suddenly awoke to screaming.
“It’s surreal. I don’t believe it happened,” Trevan told Global News on Monday.
He lives in the basement of the home where Toronto police fatally shot a man Saturday after a woman was stabbed inside in what was believed to be a domestic incident.
Trevan said the injured woman was able to make her way outside of the home, and was quickly seen by paramedics, but one of her two children remained inside with the suspect — believed to be the child’s father.
“Then the police show up … and they had only seconds to decide what to do. There was still a child inside with an armed man and they did what they had to do,” Trevan said.
Ontario’s police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), previously said in a release that police responded to a 911 call that afternoon reporting a woman had been seriously injured near a home.
It said a 42-year-old man, who is believed to be involved in injuring the woman, had a knife and took hold of a young child before entering a residence.
The SIU, which is investigating the incident, said three officers shot the man, who was taken to hospital and pronounced dead nearly an hour later.
Trevan said he was standing on a neighbour’s porch watching as emergency crews responded.
“It was weirdly silent to the lead up to it because obviously they’re trying to organize what they have to do,” he said.
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“And I mean I’m just standing on the next door neighbour’s porch kind of looking around the edge, also trying to stay back for my own safety, and … it was nothing and then gunshots and then they take him away and then they rescue the child inside.”
Trevan said it was like a “huge weight lifted” to see the child being carried out physically unharmed.
“He was absolutely fine, had a toy in his hand and then was looked after by the first responders on the scene,” Trevan said.
He said he believes the police officers were justified in their use of force.
“It’s sad when police have to do that and it’s awful when somebody dies, but in the situation they had seconds to decide and they did the right thing,” he said.
“It’s a terrible, terrible thing to say but they were left with no option.”
Trevan said he did not know much about his upstairs neighbours, but said a man, woman, and two children lived there.
He said he hadn’t had many interactions with them before, except one incident more than a month ago where the man used “very hateful speech” towards him.
Trevan said it’s normally a “such a quiet neighbourhood” and he has had a positive experience living at the home.
He has since set up a GoFundMe account to help raise funds for the woman and her children to cover any medical or other expenses incurred as a result of the incident.
— with files from Catherine McDonald and Isaac Callan