TORONTO – There has been outrage and calls for swift justice from the community and elected officials after gunfire shattered the joyous celebration of a birthday party, injuring three children and an adult in Toronto’s Rexdale neighbourhood.
Police were called to a building complex on Tandridge Crescent near Byng Avenue just after 8:00 p.m. Saturday following reports of gunshots.
When they arrived they discovered four victims including a one-year-old, a five-year-old, and an 11-year-old, all suffering from gunshot wounds.
In an update on Monday, police said the five-year-old girl, who was hit in the head, remains in hospital in critical condition.
The one-year-old, grazed by a bullet, was treated on scene and released from the hospital. An 11-year-old was also released from hospital on Monday.
A 23-year-old victim remains in hospital.
Police said the shooting occurred at an outdoor birthday party for the one-year-old.
“I’ve been a police officer for a number of years and this is one of the most disturbing scenes when you see young people indiscriminately shot, it’s disgusting,” Superintendent Ron Taverner told reporters on Sunday. “As much as this is a horrific, horrific situation, it could have been worse. There could be three dead children.”
“It’s disgusting,” said Emmalyn who attended the party with her son. “They have no respect … to think about how someone could just come to a one-year-old’s birthday party and do this.”
— Ken Townsend (@KenTownsend) June 20, 2021
“This is a tragedy …this is very heartbreaking, it could have been any one of us – it could have been myself,” said a neighbour who lives at the complex and knows the family of the little girl that was shot.
“These kids are going to remember this. It’s summertime, these kids are supposed to be eating ice cream, playing games. I’m lost for words because I don’t know what to say.”
“To know that you were here, you see the atmosphere and know that 80 per cent of the people that were here were children. Your heartless, your cold, bottom line.”
Premier Doug Ford called the shooting “inconceivable and beyond comprehension,” adding the “perpetrators must be found and brought to justice.”
The shooting that took place in Rexdale last night is inconceivable and beyond comprehension.
The perpetrators must be found and brought to justice. If anyone has any information, please contact the Toronto Police Service or Crime Stoppers immediately. pic.twitter.com/pE6dAOa67W
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) June 20, 2021
Mayor John Tory issued a statement Sunday morning saying firing a gun in Toronto is unacceptable “anywhere anytime,” but “doing so at a child’s birthday party goes way beyond that.”
“This is a shocking and outrageous act of gun violence that comes amidst the work Toronto Police and the City have been doing that has led to a decline in shootings over the last year,” he said.
Firing a gun anywhere anytime in the City of Toronto is unacceptable. Doing so at a child’s birthday party goes way beyond that. pic.twitter.com/161ZkdrUjl
— John Tory (@JohnTory) June 20, 2021
Both pleaded for anyone with information to contact the police.
Police say they are looking for multiple suspects but have yet to release any descriptions, saying only they know the shooters arrived at the scene on foot and fled the area in a vehicle.
Investigators add the children were not the targets of the shooting, but are unsure if the adult male shot was being targeted.