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Shots fired at Toronto Jewish girls school

Toronto police say they're looking for two suspects who allegedly shot a gun at a Jewish girls school in North York early Saturday morning.

No injuries reported, but police say guns and gangs task force, hate crime unit are investigating

A police car is parked in front of a Jewish elementary school.

Toronto police say they're looking for multiple suspects who allegedly shot at an elementary school in North York early Saturday morning.

In a news conference Saturday afternoon, Insp. Paul Krawczyk of the guns and gangs task force said the suspects fired from a dark-coloured vehicle at the Bais Chaya Mushka, a school that serves Jewish girls in the Greater Toronto Area, just before 5 a.m. before leaving.

Police were called to the area after staff called investigators at around 9 a.m. Saturday reporting "evidence of a firearm discharge" at the school, Krawczyk said.

"I completely understand that this can cause concern and fear and anxiety in the community, especially when it happens at a school like this," said Krawczyk.

There have been no reported injuries, but Krawczyk said the front of the school has been damaged.

Krawczyk said it's too early to tell whether the shooting was a hate crime or a terrorist act.

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

The guns and gangs task force are leading the investigation but will be supported by the force's hate crime unit, Krawczyk said.

Krawczyk said officers will be increasing their presence in the neighbourhood near Dufferin Street and Finch Avenue W, canvassing homes and businesses for information. Officers will also be present at other schools and synagogues, he added.

People also might find video footage circulating online that seems to stem from the shooting, Krawczyk said. But he urged the public to avoid distributing any videos they might come across while police investigate.

Ontario premier, Jewish organizations call for action

In a post on X, Ontario Premier Doug Ford called the shooting a "gross display of antisemitism."

"It's beyond belief that anyone could be this hateful. Every student deserves to feel safe at school," he said, urging people who have information to contact police.

"These cowards need to be found and brought to justice."

Jewish organizations are also reacting to the shooting and calling for more action. In a statement, The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs called it 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 statement reads.

"We demand justice. We demand swift action."

In a separate statement, Michael Levitt, the president and CEO of the Friends Of Simon Wiesenthal Center For Holocaust Studies, said the shooting 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," said Levitt.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact investigators.

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Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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