Police investigating suspected hate-motivated incident involving armed man at Jewish school
A 21-year-old Toronto man is facing a slew of charges following a suspected hate-motivated incident at a Jewish school in North York.
The incident, which Toronto police say appears to be an isolated one, happened on Wednesday at Yeshiva Gedolah of Toronto, near Lawrence Avenue West and Bathurst Street.
According to Toronto police, a man was riding his bicycle through school property when he was confronted by students for being on the property.
This individual reportedly returned a little while later and started yelling at the students. Police said he also made anti-Semitic comments.
School staff then confronted the man and a physical confrontation broke out during which a staff member was threatened and assaulted, police allege.
Kyle McLeod, 21, of Toronto, was arrested and charged with a variety of offences, including assault with a weapon. He is set to appear in court on July 28.
Toronto police’s Hate Crime Unit is involved and is investigating this incident as a suspected hate-motivated incident.
Uber has confirmed that the man charged is one of their delivery persons.
“We have zero tolerance for violence or hate on the Uber platform. We are looking into the matter and will take appropriate action,” a spokesperson told CP24.
According to the company’s community guidelines, all users are expected to treat each other with respect. Violence and discrimination of any kind are not tolerated.
Uber says it has a team of former law enforcement professionals who work with the police to respond to urgent needs and walk them through how they can help with investigations.
Jewish human rights group Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre (FSWC) for Holocaust Studies is decrying this latest incident of anti-Semitism.
"It is extremely troubling that a man with a weapon violently threatened people at a yeshiva and, even more disturbingly, yelled that he wanted to kill Jews. … and the perpetrator must face consequences for his disturbing actions," Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, FSWC's Director of Policy, in a May 26 statement.
Speking with CP24, Kirzner-Roberts said this incident is “very disturbing for the community,” especially because it targets children.
“We are really grateful Toronto police took control of this situation fairly quickly, that they did lay charges against the perpetrator,” she said, adding political and community leaders along with police need to develop a strategy together to combat all hate crimes.
“Now we can only hope that he is held accountable for the fear that he has left in our community’s heart.”
This incident comes as Toronto is reports a 22 per cent year-over-year increase in hate crimes, the majority of which are directed at the city’s small Jewish community.
"Such an attack comes on the heels of the Toronto Police Service's most recent annual hate crime report that once again showed the city's Jewish community as the most targeted group. Jewish students deserve to go to school without fearing threats and violence,” Kirzner-Roberts said.
Toronto Mayor John Tory tweeted about the charges laid in the incident, saying "antisemitism has absolutely no place in our city."
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-1300, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477) or www.222tips.com.