port union shooting

Toronto shaken up by school shooter scare but thankful police responded quickly

Just two days after the shockingly tragic events that took place in Uvalde, Texas — where 19 students and two teachers were killed in yet another American school shooting — Toronto faced a similar scare of its own, which residents are saying could have had a far worse outcome if it weren't for the actions of local authorities.

Five schools in the Port Union area of Scarborough were placed under emergency lockdown early Thursday afternoon after police received reports of a man wandering the area with a gun.

The suspect was shot by law enforcement some 130 metres from William G Davis Junior Public School, preventing any further escalation of the situation, and their swift action is something the public is extremely thankful for today.

People can't help but compare how things went down yesterday to how they unfolded south of the border on Tuesday — Texas police are being criticized for not arriving on the scene or confronting the perpetrator quickly enough, showing up 12 minutes after the teenaged gunman started shooting at people on the street and only entering the school four minutes after that.

Then, after being driven back by the shooter (who was armed with an AR-style rifle he had purchased legally days before), authorities apparently remained outside for another hour or so as they called for backup and worked to evacuate people from the building.

"Based on best practices, it's very difficult to understand why there were any types of delays, particularly when you get into reports of 40 minutes and up of going in to neutralize that shooter," an expert National School Safety and Security Services told AP.

Many are saying that the swift way Toronto police handled the situation should be how all such incidents are handled, especially in the States, where they tend to end far worse with far more fatalities.

Canadians are reflecting on how cops approached not only the Uvalde gunman — the deadliest in Texas history and the worst in the U.S. since Sandy Hook in 2012 — but also the mass shooter who targeted Black residents in a Buffalo retailer on May 14.

Police engaged that white 18-year-old shooter non-violently, talking him into surrendering without having to fire a single shot his way; a tactic that is being lauded by some, but is spawning questions in others, especially given American police's notoriously awful and deadly interactions with Black residents in far less severe situations.

There is also, of course, talk about Canada's our police protocols for dealing with events like this and our more stringent gun control laws, which many feel are a huge factor in the prevalence of such crimes.

As the New York Yankees tweeted in the wake of the Texas attack, "When an assault weapon is used in a mass shooting, it results in six times as many people shot than when other guns are used." Thousands of these types of firearms are banned in Canada.

Regardless of how they think the case should have been handled, it's clear that people in Toronto are rattled given our incident here at home and other recent events.

In the end, it was confirmed that the presumed would-be Toronto shooter was a 27-year-old carrying a pellet gun, not a rifle, near Lawrence Ave. E and Port Union Rd.

Toronto Police Chief James Ramer said in a press conference soon after that there was no threat to public safety and that it was believed to be an isolated incident. 

As is the case anytime there is a death involving police, the Special Investigations Unit is looking into the matter.

Lead photo by

CP24


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