2 young girls hurt in brazen Toronto playground shooting
'Some cowards came into this neighbourhood and opened fire into a playground,' police chief says
Two girls, aged five and nine, were rushed to SickKids Hospital following a daylight shooting at a playground in east Toronto Thursday.
Police say they are searching for two suspects — the shooter and the driver of the getaway vehicle.
Emergency crews were called to the scene at 10 Alton Towers Circle, near McCowan Road and Steeles Avenue in Scarborough, around 5 p.m. ET.
Eleven children were in the park at the time along with one adult male, who is believed to have been the intended target, Det.-Sgt. Jim Gotell told reporters at the scene.
Gotell said the two children were sisters and were shot when a man with a handgun arrived at a nearby parking lot in a vehicle, approached the park on foot and opened fire before fleeing. Police believe at least seven shots were fired.
A source with knowledge of the investigation told CBC News initial reports indicated two masked people were seen in a vehicle in the area.
Younger girl shot in abdomen, paramedics say
The younger of the two girls was shot in the abdomen and taken to hospital with critical injuries. Her condition has since been upgraded to stable. The older sister was shot in the ankle. Both had to undergo surgery.
"Some cowards came into this neighbourhood and opened fire into a playground," Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders told reporters at the scene.
The children were "obviously" not intended targets, he said, describing the act as "disgusting."
This is a traumatic experience for all the kids in the neighbourhood.- Stacy London, nearby resident
Police have not yet released a description of the suspects or the vehicle.
Investigators are now looking to identify the children who were in the park at the time of the shooting and want to speak with the man believed to have been the intended target.
Residents thought they heard firecrackers
Stacie London, a nearby resident and nurse, ran outside when she heard the commotion and saw people crowded around the park, many of them crying.
One woman was holding the girl with the abdomen wound and another was tending to the older girl.
"There was a lot of blood, so I ran home to get some gloves and then I ran back and just assessed to see if she had any open areas," she said.
Within just a few minutes, she said, emergency crews arrived on scene.
London said she knows both girls and is relieved to see their conditions have been upgraded to stable.
But she's concerned things could have been much worse, she said, and worries about the lingering effects of the shooting.
"This is a traumatic experience for all the kids in the neighbourhood because this is a park that they play in all summer long," she said. "It was quite shocking."
Police said the victims' school has been contacted and counsellors will be available for any students affected.
Nearby resident Stephanie Wu was walking home along McCowan Road when she saw approximately 10 emergency vehicles race by.
When she got back to her apartment on Alton Towers Circle, she said, she realized just how close her home was to the crime scene.
"People are a little shaken up," she told CBC News. Her neighbours told her they thought they'd heard multiple firecrackers go off, before learning there had been gunfire.
Toronto Mayor John Tory and premier-designate Doug Ford have also expressed their concern over the incident.