Canadian authorities are looking for a suspect responsible for a mass shooting Thursday near a Toronto playground.
According to The Ottawa Citizen, two young girls, 5- and 9-year-old sisters, were seriously injured in the incident and rushed from the scene to the trauma ward at an area children’s hospital.
“At the time of the incident … we were fearful for her life,” Toronto Police Deputy Cmdr. Steve Henderson said of the younger girl. “But her condition has upgraded in hospital and she is not expected to be in a life-threatening situation at this time.”
Her older sister is also expected to survive her injuries.
Authorities have condemned the “brazen” violent attack, which included at least seven gunshots into a crowd of 11 children. Investigators say they believe the intended victim was an adult in the crowd.
Detective Sgt. Jim Gotell said the agency has received “a lot of cooperation” and “a lot of sympathy” from the community given the nature of the crime.
“A male approached the park with a handgun and started to fire into the park,” he said. “At the time of the shooting the male suspect was on foot and he left the area in a car.”
Authorities did not initially release a description of the suspect’s vehicle but Gotell said a manhunt is underway and additional details are forthcoming.
“I can tell you that we are putting every resource on this to make sure we apprehend the person who would be motivated to do something like this in the city of Toronto,” Police Chief Mark Saunders said, adding that investigators “will be taking aggressive action toward resolving this particular investigation.”
He went on to describe those behind the attack as “cowards.”
Mayor John Tory pledged the full assistance of local authorities and issued a statement of sympathy to the victims and their families.
“I cannot imagine the anguish the family and friends of the two girls shot while playing in a park are experiencing tonight,” he said.
[Featured image: CityNews Toronto, video screenshot]