While it is not clear whether the students at this private school in Toronto were targeted for being students of a particular race, police said they found no evidence of any ongoing racial tension.
“The deceased is being brought to a mortuary to be identified, the mother is being accompanied by another family member at the moment and we are also working with the coroner’s office,” said Detective Sergeant Scott Shelton of the Toronto Police Service.
“All indications are that the incident was targeted at this particular group of individuals, and we have no evidence at this time to suggest a broader escalation or threat to any other school or any other young person in the community,” he said.
No arrests have been made, and police are asking anyone with information to contact them.
According to the Toronto Sun, “Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders confirmed one person was killed and seven others injured when a ‘large crowd’ of ‘likely’ teenage girls, some of whom had already started the school day, allegedly stabbed several people in North York.”
Nearby North York General Hospital said on social media that it had taken three stabbing victims.
A half-hour later, four additional victims were brought to the hospital, including a five-year-old girl, who was listed in critical condition. She was among the children with parents in the cafeteria, when they heard screaming. “She was just sort of wide-eyed, but was wagging her finger. She wasn’t saying anything, but just kind of staring,” said one parent, who did not want to be identified.
And around 4:30 p.m., police said in a statement that the adult suspect was found in a car that was not involved in the incident.
No one has yet been charged with a crime, police said.
Youth violence in Toronto is unusual: For the past several years, it has been all but unheard of for North York’s virtually all-white school board to set off any significant riots or gatherings. However, the school board tweeted a warning Wednesday evening, saying “Public Safety has advised us to be on alert for any possible violence.”
The school, located on Heathvale Road and Sutcliffe Road, is a private middle school for girls, with 85 students aged 11 to 15.
The new school year was to begin in September. The families of the victims have been notified, the school board said in a statement. Counselors were made available to help.
Parents, police say, were transported by bus to the school. Some are learning about the tragedy by watching CNN and seeing children’s faces on the news, the superintendent of elementary education, Jeff Wong, said. They are brokenhearted, he said.
“It’s a very emotional situation. They have upset their children, they have upset their families,” Wong said. “It’s emotional and that’s the first thing we do: We’re emotional. That’s why it’s an issue for us.”