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York law student charged after gunshots fired in residence building

Toronto police have arrested a 35-year-old York University law student who allegedly fired a shotgun at a residence room door on Saturday.

Andrew MacDonald, a first-year student who lived in the Assiniboine student apartment residence where the incident occurred, has been charged with multiple offences including mischief, attempted break and enter, and several weapons-related charges.

He appeared in court on Thursday morning, and police have asked that he be remanded until Monday.

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Police have also seized a Remington 870 shotgun they believe was used in the alleged crime, as well as a .22 calibre rifle and a hunting rifle, all of which they believe Mr. MacDonald possessed, as well as a large quantity of ammunition.

The female student who lives in the room at which the shot was fired had earlier reported problems and possible tampering with the lock on her door, and police now believe Mr. MacDonald may have been responsible.

The shotgun blast was directed near the lock on the left side of the door, which it penetrated. The victim was in the room at the time, but is unhurt, and has been moved out of the residence for her safety. She has no known connection to Mr. MacDonald.

"The victim does not know anybody that would want to cause her any harm whatsoever," said Det. Sgt. Al Coulter. "She's been in that residence for almost three years."

An engineering doctorate student who lives in the residence said the alleged crime was particularly surprising because the building houses mature students, some living with spouses and children.

"Even if it's a single gunshot, people to get worried about it," said Abhay Rai, who has lived in the building for two and a half years. "I this must be one of those incidents, that happens for some reason, which we're not aware of. I don't think it will happen again."

Mr. Rai said he lives four floors above where the incident occurred and didn't hear anything. Residents are being more cautious about opening their doors, while the university has been sending out frequent e-mails about the situation, he said. "I think, pretty much, everyone is doing what they can."

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Safety is a sensitive topic at York, which has struggled with security concerns in recent years, arising most notably from a series of sexual assaults on or near campus. The incidents prompted York to ramp up its safety measures, including adding many new security cameras, and police confirmed they have been reviewing campus footage as well as conducting many interviews.

"I want to assure everyone that the safety and well-being of all our community members - students, faculty and staff - is paramount at York," said Gary Brewer, the university's vice-president of finance and administration said at a police news conference on Thursday. "Unfortunately, incidents happen."

With a report from Carys Mills

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About the Author
Banking Reporter

James Bradshaw is banking reporter for the Report on Business. He covered media from 2014 to 2016, and higher education from 2010 to 2014. Prior to that, he worked as a cultural reporter for Globe Arts, and has written for both the Toronto section and the editorial page. More

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