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Man shot dead by Toronto police after schools locked down had pellet gun, police watchdog says

Special Investigations Unit says man was 27; post-mortem to be held Saturday

Police respond to reports of a man with a rifle near William G. Davis Junior Public School in Toronto Thursday.

Police respond to reports of a man with a rifle near William G. Davis Junior Public School in Toronto Thursday.

Photo:  (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

RCI

A man shot dead by police after reports of a person with a rifle forced several schools into lockdown in Toronto Thursday in fact had a pellet gun, Ontario's police watchdog says.

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) also says the man was 27.

The watchdog agency said Friday that police were called to the scene just before 1 p.m. and located the man about 20 minutes later.

He was pronounced dead at about 1:40 p.m.

Toronto Police Chief James Ramer said officers were called to the Port Union area of Scarborough for reports of a person with a gun.

At a news conference late Thursday afternoon, Ramer said officers were confronted by the man. Ramer declined to provide further details, citing the SIU's investigation.

Unclear if man was holding weapon when located

On Friday morning, the SIU confirmed to CBC News that a pellet gun was recovered at the scene. It's unclear if the man was holding the weapon when police located him.

The Special Investigations Unit says it recovered a pellet gun from the scene where a 27-year-old man was shot dead by Toronto police.

The Special Investigations Unit says it recovered a pellet gun from the scene where a 27-year-old man was shot dead by Toronto police.

Photo:  (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

SIU spokesperson Kristy Denette said preliminary details indicate two police officers fired their weapons at the suspect.

The investigation is ongoing to determine the circumstances that led to police shooting the man, Denette said.

The agency says it has assigned four investigators and three forensic investigators to the case.

A post-mortem examination is scheduled for tomorrow, the SIU says.

A spokeswoman for Toronto police did not say why the force hadn't mentioned the pellet gun in its earlier statements.

Students realized lockdown wasn't a drill

Thursday's incident comes just two days after a gunman entered a Texas elementary school classroom andkilled 19 children and two teachers. (new window)

Police said after the shooting that there was no wider threat to public safety, but that officers would be stepping up patrols in the area.

One student at William G. Davis Junior Public School said she realized the lockdown wasn't a drill when it lasted longer than 20 minutes.

There was a mass shooting in Texas and that was really sad, so knowing about this person that is armed, it [felt] like they were going to shoot the school and I was feeling really tense, said Grade 5 student Inaaya Zaman.

It felt scary, agreed fellow student Anela Limanosk.


With files from The Canadian Press

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