Teenage boy dead after being shot at north Toronto high school
May 23, 2007 - 3:03 pm
TORONTO (CP) - Heavily armed police officers searched a locked-down Toronto high school for threats Wednesday after a 14-year-old student was shot and killed, forcing frightened teenagers to remain in their classrooms for hours.
The shooting at C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute in north Toronto occurred around 2:30 p.m. Officers received a call about a possible drowning, but arrived at the school to find a teenage boy suffering from a single gunshot wound, prompting the lockdown.
Police Chief Bill Blair held a news conference outside the school at 5 p.m. - while the students were still locked down - and offered assurances to worried parents, saying officers had secured the school and were "on every floor and in every room."
He appealed to students to remain calm.
Blair indicated the victim was rushed to hospital in grave condition but later died.
"A young man lost his life, a young student lost his life in the school," he said.
"Students have a right to a safe school environment. It is shocking that such a crime could take place in our schools."
Blair said students were to remain in lockdown as a precaution while officers and police dogs searched the school.
"We want to make sure there is no danger in the school before we release them," he said.
It was not immediately known if the gunman was still inside the school as the police search began.
"We don't have anybody under arrest and we don't have suspect information, so we have to take that into consideration," said Toronto police Const. Wendy Drummond.
"Until we can search the building, we don't know."
Police didn't comment on a suspect, but said it was not a situation in which a gunman is roaming the halls.
"I have no information at the present time with respect to suspects," Blair said. "The only information we have is that this young man was found with a single gunshot wound and that he was transported to hospital."
Yellow police tape surrounded the school and outside the barrier, police vehicles and curious onlookers - including many parents of students - jammed the streets.
Some parents were able to reach their children inside the school on cellphones.
The school is located near the Jane-Finch corridor, a poor area of Toronto noted for years for its high crime rate.
Police said no weapon had been found.
The Toronto District School Board's website said the school had about 850 students.
The shooting comes a little more than a month after a gunman killed 32 people at Virginia Tech before taking his own life.
In September, a gunman at Montreal's Dawson College killed a student and wounded 19 others before he died from police gunfire.