Toronto police have released security camera footage of a “disturbing” incident that shows an eight-year-old boy narrowly escaping a hail of gunfire while on his way to buy a popsicle in Rexdale over the weekend.  

Police released information about the shooting on Wednesday, describing it as “callous” and “disgusting.”

“It’s very disturbing – to us, to the community, to the family of an eight year old boy that was walking across the street – that bullets were whizzing by him,” Supt. Ron Taverner said Wednesday.

The shooting took place at around 9:30 p.m. Saturday on Jamestown Crescent, which is near Martin Grove Road and Finch Avenue.

Taverner told CP24 that the boy was crossing the road to buy a popsicle at a Toronto Community Housing building on Jamestown Crescent when an SUV pulled up.

Speaking with CP24 Wednesday, the boy said he ran and hid after hearing a loud bang.

“I thought it was firecracker so I hid because I didn’t want to get hit with the firecracker,” said the boy, whose parents did not want him to be identified.

He said he became “scared” when he realized what was happening and continued to hide until the suspects took off.

In the surveillance video, one young man crosses the street just before the SUV pulls up.

The eight-year-old boy then dashes across the street just as two individuals get out of the vehicle and open fire on the unidentified man who crossed the street earlier.

Surveillance images released by police show a gunman standing in the middle of the street and appearing to fire directly at the boy, who ran and hid in the alcove of a home.

“The boy luckily ran and ducked into an alcove or this could have been a homicide fairly easily,” Taverner told CP24. “It is very outrageous. When you see the (surveillance) video it is absolutely disgusting, this callous disregard for life.”

Taverner said that 15 shell casings were recovered at the scene from two different caliber handguns.

He said that the bullets were flying “right over” the child’s head at one point.

While two different guns were used in the shooting, police said there may have been as many as three people inside the vehicle, described as a 2010 or 2011 model Toyota Rav4.

The child’s mother, who did not want to be identified, told CTV News Toronto that she has been upset ever since her son came home that night.

Police believe children who live in the area have made a game out of hiding from certain vehicles they see in their neighbourhood. Taverner said the boy in this incident had been playing that game with friends the very same day.

“Kids hide from black SUVs that drive down the street because traditionally there have been black SUVs where shooters have come out and fired in the area,” he said. “It’s pretty disturbing to think kids as young as eight years old are playing these games, hiding from these particular cars. It speaks again to the level of violence.”

Taverner said that police are interested in speaking with the man who was shot at, but have not been able to identify him so far. Taverner said he may or may not have been the intended target of the shooting.

“People know who these individuals are and we need people to come forward. These are the type of crimes that we need to solve because these people won’t stop at just doing what they have done here,” he said. “They are a danger to the community and we need to deal with these people.”

Taverner added that the shooting highlights the danger of having illegal guns floating around the city.

“It’s a miracle that this young boy wasn’t struck and we’re so thankful for that, but it’s outrageous that this is taking place in our community, that people have a total disregard for human life, for children playing in an area,” he said. “It speaks volume about the amount of guns that are out on the street, the illegal guns that are out there being used for illicit purposes, whether it’s robberies, shootings or any other type of crime.”

Police said one of the suspects is described as a black male with a medium build who was wearing a dark coloured jacket, dark pants and had a hoodie on.

Anyone with information is being urged to contact police.