The University of Toronto’s downtown campus has lifted a lockdown after Toronto police emergency task force members were unable to find a threat to public safety following a report of a masked suspect dressed in all black seen carrying a weapon.
Police responded to a report of a suspicious man wearing all black carrying a black knapsack just after 9 a.m. Monday near a building under construction at the east-end downtown campus where the Faculty of Music and Law are located.
A photo of the suspect was sent to police by a witness and a second call came in shortly after reporting a man who was allegedly armed with a gun.
Police said just after 3 p.m. Monday that no suspect was located and no injuries reported after ETF members cleared several campus buildings under lockdown.
“We’ve seen the picture it’s a male subject dressed in all black, with a black knapsack and a mask. Later reports indicate that that person had a firearm of some sort,” Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders told reporters at the scene.
“The contact points that people have said that they’ve seen this suspicious person, we’re making sure that we’re clearing as best to our abilities, we’re utilizing our tactical officers as well as our dogs to ensure that we can maximize the safety of everybody here.”
Saunders said an unidentified man had been taken into police custody at the scene in connection with a separate criminal investigation and does not fit the description of the suspect dressed in all black — who is still at large.
“No I have not seen the gun in the picture, I have seen the person dressed in all black with a black knapsack and a mask,” Saunders said, adding that police had received numerous calls describing the suspect.
“That picture did not indicate or show a firearm, someone else has made that comment or given that information to us which is why we’re utilizing the emergency task force.”
Saunders added that investigators are examining surveillance footage in the area with the help of campus police.
“It’s clear to say that we live in a different time right now and we ask vigilance from everybody. If someone sees something that is of suspicion, to give us a call and to allow us to do what we need to do,” he said.
“The person who initially called, we’re trying to make contact with that person to call back, we’re making every effort to try to extract more information so that we have a cleaner picture.”