PICKERING, Ont. - A 17-year-old was shot and wounded when cops interrupted a robbery at an animal hospital early Monday.
Durham Regional Police say they received a 911 call around 7:30 a.m. for a robbery in progress at Sheridan Veterinary Services on Kingston Rd., a block east of Liverpool Rd., in Pickering, Ont., just east of Toronto.
"An officer arrived on scene and confronted a lone male," police said after the shooting, which is now being probed by Ontario's Special Investigations Unit (SIU).
SIU spokesman John Line said the alleged crook was inside the vet clinic and came face to face with the first officer to arrive on the scene in the parking lot out front.
"We don't know exactly what happened. That will be part of our investigation," Line said. "But as a result of that confrontation, the officer fired a number of shots.
"The young man was hit twice in the upper body," Line said, adding the teen suffered "life-threatening" injuries.
The youth's blood-stained clothing lay in the parking lot surrounded by numbered evidence markers.
More yellow markers were scattered about 10 metres away on Kingston Rd., which was shut down for much of the day between Glenanna and Glengrove Roads.
It was not immediately clear if the teen was armed with a gun or if there was an exchange of gunfire.
The badly wounded youth, who can't be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was rushed to Rouge Valley Hospital in nearby Ajax, Ont. He was then transferred to Sunnybrook hospital's trauma centre in Toronto, where he was fighting for his life.
April Roy, who lives in a condominium across the street from the vet clinic, heard shots ring out just after finishing breakfast and knew immediately it was gunfire.
"I heard gunshots, five of them," she said.
Worried about her nephews, who live with her brother in a townhouse behind the clinic, she ran outside to see what was happening and saw the injured teen on the ground.
"He wasn't moving," Roy said.
Although it appears to be a quiet suburban neighbourhood, she said the area has become rife with drug problems.
"I'm sure this guy was after drugs," Roy said.
The SIU, which probes any injury or death involving police, did not immediately reveal the motive for the robbery.
"That's part and parcel of our investigation," Line said when asked if the botched robbery was drug-related.
Anyone with information regarding the incident is urged to contact the SIU's lead investigator at 416-622-1935 or 1-800-787-8529, ext. 1935.