3 victims of stabbing in Ontario town expected to survive, police say
Police watchdog investigating fatal shooting of 37-year-old male suspect
Three victims who were rushed to hospital with serious injuries following a stabbing on Saturday in the Town of East Gwillimbury, Ont., are expected to survive, police said in a news release on Sunday.
The stabbing also left one person dead, and the suspect was shot by police.
York Regional Police said the victims are a two-year-old boy, a four-year-old boy and a 35-year-old woman.
"I just couldn't believe it. It's a terrible tragedy. It's something that we never would have ever expected in a small town community," East Gwillimbury Mayor Virginia Hackson said in an interview with CBC News on Sunday.
Hackson said Mount Albert, a village on the eastern edge of the town about 65 kilometres north of Toronto, is a close-knit community totalling about 5,000 people, where residents are friendly and neighbours know each other.
"If they don't know [their neighbours] very well, they will know them much better after a situation like this," she said.
On Saturday, shortly before 2:30 p.m., police were called to a residence on Ridge Gate Crescent in Mount Albert for reports of a stabbing.
In a news release Saturday night, police said several people were stabbed.
When police arrived on the scene, they found a 38-year-old female on the front porch of the residence who was pronounced dead, police said.
The province's Special Investigations Unit, which was called in to investigate, said police entered the home and became involved in an interaction with a man, resulting in the 37-year-old being fatally shot by two officers.
The police watchdog said five investigators and four forensic investigators have been assigned to the case. At this time, two subject officers and one witness officer have been designated.
An investigation is ongoing, and investigators remain at the scene. A post-mortem for the man who was shot by police will take place Tuesday morning, the SIU said on Sunday.
'It's tough to explain,' resident says
Todd Morrison, a neighbour, said he learned of the incident through social media on his way back to his house, about a dozen residences away from where the stabbing occurred.
"My wife and I started to get text messages and alerts that something was happening near the house," he said.
Morrison said his son walked through the neighbourhood just minutes before police began to arrive on Saturday. "It's tough to explain to a 12-year-old what just happened," he said.
Morrison said he didn't personally know the residents who lived in the house where the stabbing occurred. He described them as a young family.
"People live in this town because they have families, and so I think it will affect a lot of people in this town very deeply."
Christa Rose said she counted 15 police cars and other emergency vehicles that were "flying up" behind her house on their way to the scene.
Rose, a Mount Albert resident of 15 years, said she saw police officers surrounding the house where the stabbing incident occurred. She said at one point, there was some kind of signal and officers ran into the home fairly quickly.
Shortly after that, she said she saw a few officers carrying somebody out on what she described as a blanket stretcher and put them in the back of an ambulance.
"I mean, as soon as you hear that the kids are involved, your heart just ... gone," she said.
Town council believes suspect was newer resident
East Gwillimbury town council member Cathy Morton told CBC News that the area where the stabbing occurred is a new development, which was built in the last seven years.
She said she believes the man was a newer resident in this development, as he only appears on more recent voter lists.
"As a mother I just can't imagine what the rest of the family must be going through," she said.
Scott Crone, another council member, said he is still reeling after Saturday's violence.
"I don't think you're ever really, truly prepared for this sort of thing," he said on Sunday.
Council members said they attended a virtual community prayer service Sunday morning put together by a local church, something Crone said was the first step in the healing process. He said it's important to let community members know that it is OK to grieve.
A council workshop planned for Tuesday has been postponed; the time will be used instead to discuss increasing mental health resources for residents of East Gwillimbury.
"We'll all be helping each other out, and we'll all be doing what we do best as a community, and that's come together," Crone said.
With files from Jessica Ng