Teens charged in 2 separate pellet gun shootings at Toronto schools
Responding officers often having to make quick decisions on whether 'weapon is real, a toy or replica': Police
Three teenagers are facing charges after separate pellet gun shootings at two schools in Toronto.
The first incident was Monday, when a student was shot inside a school in the city's west end around 12:45 p.m., police say. The school, in the Bloor Street and Dundas Street West area, was put into lockdown Monday afternoon.
A 17-year-old girl was taken to hospital with a non-life-threatening injury. A 15-year-old boy was charged with possession of a dangerous weapon.
"We understand that this incident is deeply concerning and emotionally stressful for the school community," the Toronto Catholic District School Board said in a statement to CBC News Tuesday.
Shortly after 4 p.m. Monday, police were called to a second school, in the area of Weston Road and Pine Street, after a 15-year-old boy was shot in the head and arm with a pellet gun on school property.
He was taken to hospital with non life-threatening injuries.
Police found two teenage boys with pellet guns a short distance away.
A 15-year-old suspect is charged with assault with a weapon, possession of a dangerous weapon and uttering threats, while a 17-year old suspect is charged with carrying a concealed weapon.
In a letter sent to parents and guardians on Tuesday, principal of Weston Collegiate Institute Cynthia Nguyen said there was an altercation involving students in the parking lot shortly before dismissal that left one student hurt in their arm.
"We take this matter very seriously. The Toronto District School Board does not tolerate possession or presence of any type of weapon or replica in our schools," Nguyen said.
Police say the shootings are being investigated separately, and are asking any witnesses or anyone with information to contact them.
Police are also reminding people who own pellet or BB guns to use them in a "safe and legal manner."
'Very scary,' local resident says
"It's very scary," said Bibul Chhabra, a local resident who lives near the school in the area of Bloor and Dundas.
"I think the government needs to do something about beefing up the security ... especially for children, if it's happening in schools."
Last week, several schools in nearby Scarborough also went into lockdown following reports of a man in the area with a rifle. Police later discovered the weapon was a pellet gun, according to Ontario's police watchdog. The 27-year-old man was shot dead by police.
The incident came two days after a gunman entered a Texas elementary school classroom and killed 19 children and two teachers.
Just a few days later, two schools in York Region were placed under hold and secure precautions following a threat posted online by a teenager — holding what appeared to be firearm.
"Police responding to these weapons calls are often in the position of having to make quick decisions on whether the weapon is real, a toy or a replica, which could have significant consequences," York police said in a news release.
With files from CBC News