A man was killed after police opened fire near an elementary school in the Port Union area of Scarborough on Thursday afternoon, forcing hundreds of children from nearby schools to go into lockdown.
Toronto paramedics told CP24 they were called to a shooting at the corner of Lawrence Avenue East and Port Union Road at 1:24 p.m.
About 30 minutes before that, police were called to Maberly Crescent and Oxhorn Road, which is just east of the shooting scene, to report a A man carrying a rifle on the street.
Toronto Police Chief James Ramer said, “Police confronted a man and, due to the circumstances that followed, is now the subject of an SIU (Special Investigations Unit) investigation, I declined to discuss what happened next.” Has gone.”
At 2:40 pm, the police said that the SIU was called to the spot for investigation.
Video obtained from a witness at the scene shows officers cordoning off a section of East Avenue several hundred meters from the William G. Davis Public School.
A body covered with an orange tarp can be seen on the sidewalk.
Ramar confirmed that the man had died after the incident.
“There is no danger to the public as this is considered an isolated incident,” Ramar said.
Asked where the man seen with the rifle was going and what he was going to do, Ramar said he would let investigators determine.
Ramer said, “Let’s not speculate as to what happened and what was happening here today. And so in the fullness of time, we will examine every aspect of it, and have a better understanding of what has happened.”
“But we have no idea at the moment what was going to happen, or what could have happened. So I don’t want to speculate and suggest that this is something similar to what happened in the United States,” he said. Referring to the mass shooting at an elementary school in Texas earlier in the week.
Ramer said Toronto police would increase patrols in the area in the wake of the incident.
“Because of its proximity to a school, I certainly understand the trauma and how painful it must have been for staff, students and parents, given the recent incidents in the United States,” he said.
The president of the Toronto Police Association said the two officers were “taken to hospital for a checkup to make sure they are well, given the serious incident they were just involved in.”
“It’s a very frankly impressive position for anyone to be involved in,” said TPA President John Reed.
BB gun found at the scene
Christie Dennett, a spokeswoman for the province’s police watchdog, confirmed that the SIU’s mandate had been implemented.
She said two Toronto police officers fired their firearms at the man during a “conversation”.
“The man was killed, and the man was pronounced dead at the scene. At this time, the SIU has not yet identified the man,” Dennett said.
She said she could not confirm whether the man was in possession of the rifle, but said a shotgun with a “long barrel” was recovered at the scene. Later in the evening, Dennett confirmed to CTV News Toronto that it was a BB gun that had been retrieved.
“Whether that man was holding it or not, I’m not entirely sure at this point. But it will be something that SIU investigators will be looking at,” Dennett said.
Asked whether there was an exchange of bullets between the police and the man, Dennett said the available information does not indicate that the man fired at the officers.
“SIU investigators are going door to door right now, looking to talk to anyone who may have photos or videos. And that being said it would be great if anyone has any information please reach out to SIU Help me.” ” He said.
The SIU said that four investigators and three forensic investigators have been assigned the responsibility of the case.
Students, parents told incident
William G. A young Davis girl told CP24 she was in her science class when the class received a message from the principal that they were going into lockdown.
“It’s not an exercise, go under your desk,” she recalled being told.
“Some of us were moaning here and there, some of us were scared. After 10 minutes I came to know that it was not an exercise.”
She said that she was not told anything for a while and that the class became uneasy.
“I thought someone was trying to break into the school – I was just telling myself – maybe this is the end of it,” she said.
He and his classmates were later thrown out of school.
When she saw her mother outside the school she said she “felt relieved.”
A man who had come to pick up his ailing son from a nearby school before the incident said that the man who was shot appears to have had a bicycle as well.
“The police shot him and then they were trying to do CPR and after that they put a blanket over him,” he told CP24.
Another witness told CP24 that he heard “three rapid shots” and then saw officers attempting to revive a man on the sidewalk.
The witness said that CP24 officers told him that they were looking for a man on a bicycle with a rifle in the area.
The Toronto District School Board said Charlottetown Junior Public School and Centennial Road Junior Public School were safe and secure, while Joseph Howe Senior Public School and Sir Oliver Mowat Collegiate Institute were in lockdown mode due to the incident.
“We do lockdown exercises specifically for a situation like this, where we don’t know what is happening, it is in the immediate vicinity of a school, and we want to make sure everyone is safe. So because of those lockdown exercises, when it actually happens, students and staff generally know what to do. In this case, obviously, it’s a related situation,” TDSB spokesman Ryan Bird said. .
“It’s related enough when it’s anywhere in the city, but when it’s close to school—to my knowledge, there’s no direct connection to the school at the moment. But obviously, when you have a shooting, it’s Really related happens. And that’s why the training of our staff and students is so important.”
All school restrictions lifted by 3 pm
Parents were now asked to pick up their children from William Davis Junior Public School after the lockdown ended.
Toronto Mayor John Tory issued a statement saying he had spoken to Ramar about the incident.
“He confirmed that police will increase patrols in the area and continue to work with schools and community partners to keep people safe. The safety of everyone in our city is our priority,” Tory said.
“I know that a nearby school was put under lockdown as a precaution. Looking at the recent tragic events, I cannot imagine the fear felt by the children, teachers and parents till the lockdown is lifted. Don’t even feel that fear and I am very grateful that everyone at school could go home safely tonight. Thank you to the police that they work every day to keep our city safe.”