Two girls, aged five and nine, were rushed 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.
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.
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.
The children were “obviously” not intended targets, he said, describing the act as “disgusting.”
This is a traumatic experience for all the kids on the neighbourhood.– Stacy London, nearby resident
Police have not yet released a description of the suspects or the vehicle, but do not believe there is any threat to public safety.
They say they have not yet spoken to the man believed to have been the target of the shooting.
A source with knowledge of the investigation tells CBC News initial reports indicate two masked people were seen in a vehicle in the area.
Residents thought they heard firecrackers
Stacy London, a nearby resident and nurse, ran outside when she heard the commotion and saw people crowded around the park, many of them crying.
“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 an open areas,” she said.
Within just a few minutes, she says, emergency crews arrived on scene.
London says she knew both girls and is relieved to see both of their conditions have been upgraded to stable.
But she said she’s concerned things could have been much worse, and worries about the lingering effects of such an incident.
“This is a traumatic experience for all the kids on the neighbourhood because this is a park that the play in all summer long,” she said. “It was quite shocking.”
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.