‘What happened to my children was terrible’: a beating in a Toronto park leaves a family of teenagers traumatized

For the past two weeks, Tammy Isbell’s teenage twin sons have been afraid to leave the house, even when accompanied. When the Annex family went to collect pumpkins, one of the children wanted to put a gun in his backpack in case someone attacked him from behind. The other told his parents that he was afraid to go because he “can’t take another beating.”

“Children are often resilient, but this has been traumatizing,” Isbell said. “What happened to my children was terrible and it has deeply affected us all.”

It refers to an incident that occurred almost two weeks ago when police say a group of five teenagers assaulted two teenagers in the Trinity Bellwoods Park area at night. Police say the suspects, believed to be between 15 and 17 years old, also stole a pair of sneakers and left the victims with cuts and bruises before they fled.

Police also said another assault and robbery incident took place that same Halloween weekend at Christie Pits around 10:30 p.m. Sunday, with a group of five to six teens assaulting two teens and stealing their jacket earlier. to flee the scene.

Police say there is no known connection between the two incidents, but add that groups of young people have been gathering in parks for the past few months, resulting in assaults and robberies.

“These incidents have been isolated from these specific groups and have not involved broader members of the public who are using the park,” said spokeswoman Connie Osborne.

On two separate weekends in early October, police filed charges and recovered stolen property in connection with robberies that took place at Christie Pits Park. While the incidents were separate, Osborne said the two groups of perpetrators “appear to be related.”

Police warn the public to be “extra vigilant” when traveling at night through parks or on public transportation. “If possible, travel with a friend and be aware of your surroundings,” police said in a press release.

For Isbell, the issue must be taken more seriously so that people who visit the parks feel safe. Her 17-year-old children had just been out to the park as part of the children’s parties, which sometimes attract 200 to 300 children, she said.

One of his sons was wearing “an expensive costume” that he has worn every year on Halloween for the past several years.

In the park, a group approached them and an altercation broke out and “all hell broke loose,” he said.

“It was an intense beating. They broke my son’s braces, ”Isbell said, noting that his son’s suit was damaged in the encounter and that the suspects stole his shoes. His twin brother tried to come to his defense and then called 911.

“The police told me that this particular individual had a police-issued mask and baton and was beating (my son) mercilessly,” she said, noting that her son never defended himself.

Officers have visited his home several times since the incident and described the scene of the attack: kicks to the face, kicks to the body, footprints on the head and twisted arms.

Osborne said members of the Major Crimes Unit are generally present in the parks and previously arrested the teens involved and recovered stolen items.

“Our officers also regularly patrol the parks to provide a visible police presence and we continue to monitor the situation,” he added.

No charges have yet been filed in the weekend incidents, and Osborne said the case remains an active investigation. Officers are working with other divisions to establish whether there are any links to robberies in their areas.

Isbell is unsure whether indicting the teenage suspects is the right way to go, as she fears retaliation against her children and does not want the case to drag through the courts for years.

“Honestly, I don’t want these children to go to jail; I want these children to receive therapy and support,” he said, noting that it is often a group of teenagers who attack others and then laugh and post videos on social media. .

“These children have been locked up for too long during the pandemic and now they are going crazy. I think that as a community we have the right to know that these parks are not always safe ”.


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