East-end school locked down after violent threats made

Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute was locked down this afternoon following a series of threatening phone calls to the school warning of an armed gunman on school grounds.

As students huddled together in the dark, heavily armed Toronto emergency task force officers conducted a classroom-by-classroom search of the school located at Don Mills Road and Overlea Boulevard for the suspect and gun.

Finally at 3:50pm, after nearly three hours of beginning their search, police gave the OK to allow the students to go home.

According to the Toronto Police Service’s Constable Tony Vella, no weapon was recovered and the alleged gunman has not yet been located.

Vella said the suspect, a 16-year-old boy, called the school early this afternoon and made threats toward a 15-year-old female student at the school.

The suspect said he was carrying a gun and on the third floor. After calling police, school officials decided on the lockdown, affecting nearly 1,800 students.

Zakarya Fajalwak was in the school library studying when the lockdown began.

“The vice principal came in and told us to get on the ground,” the Grade 12 student said. “The doors were locked and the lights were [turned] off.”

While students waited for the all-clear, anxious parents gathered across the street hoping for some word on their loved ones.

East York resident Denise Fili hoped the lockdown would end soon so her diabetic son Costa could home and take his medication.

“[This area] has changed now with everything that’s going on,” she said. “[Now] it’s just stupid kids doing stupid things.”

Vella assured parents their kids were not in any immediate danger

“[Parents should know] their children are safe and police are continuing to investigate,” he said.

About this article

By: Rahul Gupta
Posted: Nov 23 2009 9:56 pm
Filed under: News