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WARMINGTON: Boy, 12, injured in city’s latest wild west shootout

The child was struck multiple times but is expected to survive

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One thing Toronto can’t put a mask over is the number of innocent children who have been injured by gunfire over the years.

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And specifically during this year of the pandemic.

Yet another reckless shootout sent a 12-year-old boy to hospital late Friday with gunshot wounds to his thigh and ankle — not a good way to start the long weekend, but not a surprise on another violent night of gunplay.

“A few shooters … in the playground area did discharge a few rounds,” Toronto Police Insp. Andy Singh told reporters at the scene on Falstaff Avenue near Jane Street, adding the shooters then fled in cars.

Judging from the evidence markers it looked like more than a dozen rounds were fired shortly before 11 p.m.

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When the smoke settled after the shootout, a young boy was found suffering from “multiple gunshot wounds.” Toronto EMS paramedics worked on him for a number of minutes, then rushed him to hospital.

The shooting comes eight months after another 12-year-old boy — Dante Andreatta Marroquin — was killed by a stray bullet on Jane St., north of Finch Ave., while walking home from the grocery store with his mom. And it was just six weeks ago that children were hurt when gunfire erupted at a toddler’s birthday party in Rexdale.

Another shooting of a child, another reminder of just how dangerous things can become when the illegal guns come out and those wielding them open fire on each other.

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And this was not the only shooting on a nasty Friday night.

Police report there was a shooting incident along Gerrard St E., near Coxwell Ave., in which they managed to chase down two suspects in a foot race and take them into custody.

Then around midnight at Kennedy and Ellesmere Rds. there was a shootout in which “several vehicles were damaged by gunfire.”

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The city dodged a bullet. Or several. There could have been many dead.

Three major shootings in a few hours is unacceptable.

However, the fact another child was struck next to a playground — as we saw with the two sisters, ages five and nine, who were shot near the swings in Scarborough and severely wounded in June 2019 — is heartbreaking.

“We’re lucky there’s not more injuries because this did happen near a playground,” said Singh, adding it “drives home” how “senseless” this “brazen” act was.

He’s right but gang-style shooters don’t care who gets caught in their crossfire. And with police not being allowed to conduct information carding in the neighbourhoods any more, thanks to weak leadership from the mayor, premier and prime minister’s offices, it’s difficult to stay ahead of street gangs.

Throw in easy bail and it’s not surprising there are guns everywhere and children are being shot.

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You will hear City Council talk about changing the name of streets or the removal of historical statues, but there’s little effort made to rid the streets of the gun crime that victimizes children.

While police investigate, all people can do is pray the next child shot on the city’s mean streets is not theirs.

[email protected]

On Twitter: @joe_warmington

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