The babysitter of the nine-year-old girl shot, along with her five-year old sister, Thursday afternoon, at a Scarborough townhouse playground, returned to the scene of the violence Friday morning to pick up her mail.
But Joyce Willis, who has lived at Alton Towers Circle since 1995 without any incidents of violence, said, “I feel like something was missing.”
“(I’m) very sad. I was looking for that here because we’re a tight community. (It’s a) very good neighbourhood. I’ve been living here since my daughter was seven. She’s 30 now,” she said.
Willis, who had yet to speak to the mother of the children on Friday, said the two gunshot victims are “quiet kids and friendly. ‘They call out, ‘Hi, Joyce!’ It’s sad. Oh my God, I didn’t go to sleep last night until 4:30 a.m.”
Willis says she was in the garden, located in the backyard of her house, about four doors up from the playground, early Thursday evening, when she heard “seven gunshots in a row.”
She says living in Toronto is “not safe, because every week, I hear (about) somebody getting hurt. It’s very sad and kids under 10 (in this case, were shot).”
2 CHILDREN SHOT-Vehicle/Suspect(s) to ID~Info call police 416-808-4200~Anonymous tips Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-8477~Thurs Jun14/2018 5:01pm police responded to reports of a shooting at McCowan Rd Alton Towers Circle area~2 girls aged 5 & 9 shot~11 children in park at time ^sm pic.twitter.com/mViWBENx2t— Toronto Police (@TorontoPolice) June 15, 2018
The five and nine-year-old girls have both undergone surgery for the injuries they sustained in the shooting and are now in stable condition.
Willis said the family has eight children in total — “six small, and two big ones.”
She added it will take a lot to make the community feel safe again.
“What will make me feel safe again is to know the kids are free to play without incident. People coming in should be screened. Screen them, because I mean, you’re not living here, why you coming in? We have a lot of strange faces coming here. I’d like security here.”
Meanwhile, Mayor John Tory says the people involved in a brazen shooting of two young sisters at a playground do not deserve to be part of the city’s society. The same applies to anyone involved in gun violence in the city.
He says the people involved in Thursday’s “unacceptable” attack at a playground in the middle of a housing complex are cowardly and will be brought to justice.
Police are investigating the shooting, which they believe took place when a man opened fire on someone standing near the area where 11 children were playing.
They say the suspect then allegedly fled the scene in a black, four-door 2007 to 2011 Nissan Versa and say they’re searching for both the shooter and the getaway driver.
Police Chief Mark Saunders has urged the perpetrator’s friends to contact investigators.
“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,” he said. “We will be taking aggressive action toward resolving this particular investigation.”
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