There has been a stunning turn of events in the shooting that sent Bendale Business and Technical Institute into lockdown and brought frantic parents to the school on Tuesday.
Police confirm they’ve arrested two suspects in the case – and that one of them is the young man wounded in the shooting. A 16-year-old boy was hit by bullets during what appears to have been a robbery gone wrong in a park area attached to the Midland and Lawrence campus.
He was rushed to hospital and is expected to recover. When he does, he’ll be in court, facing charges of robbery while armed with a firearm. Under the law, his name can no longer be released.
A second suspect, an 18-year-old, is also charged. Police accuse Ma rk Deicsics of robbery and fail to comply with recognizance, a legal term that means he disobeyed a judge’s order. He made his first appearance in an Eglinton Ave. E. courtroom on Wednesday.
Police have yet to confirm what they think was behind the shooting, but it appears one person alleged to have taken part in the robbery shot the other during a struggle with an intended victim.
The news comes as just under half of the 600 students who attend the school went back to class. But few went back to normal 24 hours after the notorious crime. Many admit they’re feeling nervous.
“I felt safe,” one young girl recounts. “Now I’m not so sure.”
“I’m not scared,” counters a teenage student. “Like, I’m just a little bit worried.”
Parents stopping by the area the day after also felt a certain sense of unease as their kids went through the doors. “My daughter’s not safe here,” one complains. “So nervous. This is a problem.”
“I’m a bit nervous right now because you don’t know what this is all about, the shooting was all about, and if they’re coming back,” echoes another.
School administrators are attempting to quell concerns by bringing extra teachers and guidance staff in to help counsel students. A free lunch was also given out Wednesday, with another planned for Thursday.
A pre-arranged open house scheduled for Thursday night will also go ahead as planned so parents can air any concerns or pose questions in the wake of the shocking series of events.
Meanwhile, despite the collective fears some of the students have expressed a sense of relief over the news of the captures, and feel a bit safer because of them.
But it’s not clear whether police have everyone they’re looking for. Authorities had said they were searching for as many as three or four suspects on Tuesday. That may mean further arrests are possible.
The incident prompted authorities to lockdown not only Bendale but three other nearby schools for almost three hours.
The shooting has renewed calls for metal detectors in schools as a means to ferret out weapons before they’re brought in. Others want to see a greater police presence. The Toronto District School Board instituted a new policy of having cops in some schools this week – but Bendale wasn’t on the list.
The shooting of a 16-year-old boy at Bendale BTI on Tuesday is just the latest in a long series of disturbingly violent events at GTA schools over the past few weeks – and the last number of years. What was once an unusual phenomenon back in 1975 – when a young man with a gun killed two and wounded 13 more in a Brampton school – has now become, sadly, almost commonplace.
Here’s a look at just some of the incidents on campus in the GTA in recent days and beyond that has elevated the level of concern about school safety.
Sept. 16, 2008: A 16-year-old is gunned down outside Bendale Business and Technical Institute in what may be a botched robbery. The victim is badly wounded but survives and is charged in the crime.
Sept. 10, 2008: A student is sent to hospital with non-life threatening injuries after being attacked with what police say was a meat cleaver at George S. Henry Academy.
Sept. 8, 2008: A teenager is sent to hospital after being stabbed in the chest in the hallway of Newtonbrook Secondary School in North York. He survives the attack as police seek to discover what led to it.
August 22, 2008: A teenager is shot and killed behind St. Jude’s Separate School in Mississauga. It was Peel’s 19 th murder of the year.
May 28, 2008: Nineteen-year-old Shammal Ramsey is gunned down in cold blood just steps away from Mother Teresa High School, forcing the institution into lockdown. The shooting wasn’t school related but sent anxious parents to the campus waiting for word on those inside. “It’s not anything new,” one student observed. “It usually happens around here so everyone’s getting, like, used to it..”
May 23, 2007: A gunman shoots and kills 15-year-old Jordan Manners at C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute in Toronto. It’s the first ever murder inside a Toronto high school and sparks a wave of reforms from politicians and police.
Dec. 10, 2004: A 47-year-old teacher at Bramalea S.S. is gunned down in a parking lot at the school in what police say was a domestic dispute taken to tragic extremes. Students are placed into lockdown, but some witnessed the shooting.
Feb. 10, 2000: Three teens are shot and wounded after being accosted in the parking lot of Emery Collegiate.
Feb. 5, 1999: A talent show at Lester B. Pearson C.I. is the scene of a shooting in which someone targets one of the spectators.
October 1994: Two guidance counsellors at Brockton High School in Toronto are shot and wounded by a student angry about his grades.
May 1975: Sixteen-year-old Michael Slobodian kills a teacher and a student and wounds 13 others at Centennial Secondary School in Brampton , before turning the gun on himself. The case made headlines around the world in what was then considered a very unusual crime anywhere – but especially in the area surrounding “ Toronto the Good.”