Police investigate attempted abduction of 8-year-old girl from Toronto school

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Police say they responded to St. John Vianney Catholic School in Etobicoke near Albion Road and Islington Avenue just before 12:30 p.m. for reports of a man trying to abduct a young girl.  (Spencer Gallichan-Lowe - image credit)
Police say they responded to St. John Vianney Catholic School in Etobicoke near Albion Road and Islington Avenue just before 12:30 p.m. for reports of a man trying to abduct a young girl. (Spencer Gallichan-Lowe - image credit)

Toronto police say they are investigating after an attempted abduction of an eight-year-old girl from an Etobicoke school Friday afternoon.

Police say they responded to St. John Vianney Catholic School in Etobicoke near Albion Road and Islington Avenue just before 12:30 p.m.

At a media briefing Friday afternoon, Duty Insp. Michael Williams said children had been playing outside at lunchtime at the south end of the school, when a man approached the girl and attempted to put her over his shoulder and flee.

Williams said other children in the playground noticed what was going on and approached the man, which seemingly scared him off. Police say he left the girl and appeared to flee toward the Humber River ravine.

Police said the child didn't sustain any injuries and it is unclear if she was targeted.

The suspect has been described as a white man in his 20s with a heavier build. He was wearing a black balaclava, a black basecall cap, a black sweater, black pants and black shoes.

Investigators are appealing for anyone with surveillance footage or information about the incident to contact them.

School board 'deeply troubled' by incident

In a statement Friday, the Toronto District Catholic School Board (TCDSB) said it is "deeply troubled" by the incident and urged anyone with information to contact the police.

"We are thankful that the student is safe. School staff will be reviewing safety tips with students and our facilities staff will examine the school perimeter to ensure it is safe," it said on Friday.

The board is encouraging families to monitor their children's behaviour over the next few days for signs of anxiety following the incident and to contact the school for support if necessary.