Jun 01, 2023

By Christine Ross

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The Toronto mayoral election campaign has been disrupted by a man police accuse of threatening to shoot some of the candidates.

Thursday night’s debate at OCAD University has been cancelled as a result.

Police are not saying which candidates or how many were targeted but confirm they were called to the Greenwood-Mortimer Avenues neighbourhood in East York where they allege a man made threatening remarks about shooting candidates while brandishing what appeared to be a firearm.

Soon after Police said they’re looking for 29-year-old Junior Francois Lavagesse.

He’s described as 6’1″, 180 lbs., with black hair in locks.He should be considered armed and dangerous. If located, do not approach. Call 9-1-1 immediately.

Candidate John Matlow says it was a very difficult phone call he had to make to his wife and ten-year-old daughter.

“And I had to explain to her what the reality is and we will face this reality and we’re going to make sure that we’re safe and this is obviously a new reality to experience,” Matlow told CP24 News.

Brad Bradford says he’ll pause public events until the suspect is apprehended.

“Public safety has to come first and Toronto Police have indicated this is a serious, credible threat and that doesn’t feel good for anybody, but we have to take their advice, they are professionals, they are experts,” said Bradford. “The debates, the discussions, there will be other opportunities for that.”

Ana Bailão found out about the incident at city hall.

“Pretty shocking, terrifying and sad when I got to city hall to to the the Pride flag raising and was pulled aside to be given this information about the threats,” said Bailão. “It’s scary, it’s scary for our families but we’ve spoken to all our volunteers everybody is calm and focused on the campaign and we are being cautious.”

Read the Police news release  here

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