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Police investigate shooting incident at Jewish Girls School in Toronto

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PTC News Desk: Multiple individuals are reportedly wanted by Toronto police in connection with an early-morning shooting at a North York primary school on Saturday.

At the Bais Chaya Mushka school, which serves Jewish girls in the Greater Toronto Area, the suspects fired from a dark-coloured vehicle just before 5 a.m. before fleeing, according to Inspector Paul Krawczyk of the weapons and gangs task force, who made this announcement during a press conference on Saturday afternoon.

When staff contacted investigators at approximately nine on Saturday morning to report “evidence of a firearm discharge” at the school, police were dispatched to the scene, according to Krawczyk. “I completely understand that this can cause concern and fear and anxiety in the community, especially when it happens at a school like this,” Krawczyk said.

Krawczyk stated that although there have been no injuries recorded, the school’s front has sustained damage. According to Krawczyk, it’s too soon to determine if the shooting was a terrorist attack or a hate crime.

“We’re not going to ignore the obvious, you know, what occurred here and what the target of the shooting was,” he continued. “But at the same time, it will be wrong to just guess at this point.”

The force’s hate crime unit will assist the firearms and gangs task force, which is in charge of the investigation, according to Krawczyk.

According to Krawczyk, police will be in the area more frequently in the vicinity of Dufferin Street and Finch Avenue W, knocking on doors and asking people for information. He said that other schools and synagogues will also have officers on duty.

Additionally, Krawczyk added, people may come across video footage purportedly from the incident that is making the rounds online. However, he asked people not to share any footage they may find until the police conduct their investigation. 

Leading Ontario figures and Jewish organizations demand action

Premier of Ontario Doug Ford referred to the shooting as a “gross display of antisemitism” in a post on X.

“That someone could be this cruel is unbelievable. “Every student should feel secure at school,” he declared, advising anyone with information to call the police.

“These cowards need to be found and brought to justice.”

Jewish organizations are responding to the shooting incident by demanding additional measures. According to a statement from The Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs, it was a “clear, calculated, and premeditated targeting of a Jewish school for girls.”

“The fact a school was targeted regardless of whether kids were present or not represents another worrying escalation in the violence Jewish Canadians have been experiencing,” the letter continues.

“Justice is what we demand. We expect prompt action.”

The Friends Of Simon Wiesenthal Center For Holocaust Studies’ president and CEO, Michael Levitt, stated in a separate statement that the shootings must “serve as a wake up call” for political leaders to “take the decisive actions that are necessary to confront the escalating hatred.”

“Jews in this country will not hide or cower in fear in the face of this brazen and cowardly act,” stated Levitt.

Anyone with knowledge is asked to get in touch with investigators by the police.

– With inputs from agencies

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