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Boy, 5, attacked on Sharon school playground by man wielding curtain rod

A 30-year-old East Gwillimbury man with cognitive impairment faces numerous charges, including aggravated assault
2019 05 24 YRP sleeve - use this one
Supplied photo/York Regional Police

A five-year-old boy who was seriously injured Jan. 15 while playing outside his Sharon school during recess by a man wielding a curtain rod was treated and released from hospital last night, York Regional Police Const. Laura Nicolle said.

A 30-year-old East Gwillimbury man with cognitive impairment faces numerous charges, including aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, and common nuisance - endanger life.

He is being held in custody, police said.

Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Elementary School parents were alerted about 12:45 p.m. yesterday that the school had issued a hold-and-secure just before the end of the lunch recess, a security measure that lasted about 15 minutes.

A hold-and-secure is called when there is a possible violent situation outside the school. Exterior school doors are locked and no one can enter or leave the building.

Administrators told parents an incident in the kindergarten yard resulted in one student being hit by a passerby, who lives in the community with his family.

York police responded to the call just before 1 p.m. at the Murrell Boulevard school for a report of a suspicious person. Police were told a man armed with a plastic curtain rod had hopped the school fence and was trying to strike children with it.

When officers arrived, they found the suspect inside a vehicle with a family member who was caring for him, police said.

“The investigation revealed that the suspect, a 30-year-old man who suffers with cognitive impairment, left a nearby residence and walked onto school property, armed with a curtain rod,” police said. 

“The suspect entered into a fenced playground where kindergarten students were on recess. He was swinging the rod at students and struck one of them, causing serious injury,” said police. 

School staff and a good Samaritan were able to remove the weapon from the suspect and get the students back into the school, said police.

Local parents took to social media to express their concerns and shock about the situation.

“Holding Julian a little tighter tonight,” mom Cat Fecica said. “I am so thankful for the teachers and volunteers that acted fast and prevented the situation from getting worse. This is something no little kid should ever go through.”

Kristen Ferlisi Trimarch wrote that the assault was “so scary”.

“I was shaking when I heard. I hope the child recovers quickly. Can’t even imagine the psychological damage and fear that those children endured witnessing that,” she said.

Other commenters expressed thanks to the teachers and schoolyard helpers for acting quickly to stop the suspect.


Kim Champion

About the Author: Kim Champion

Kim Champion is a veteran journalist and editor who covers Newmarket and issues that impact York Region.
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