The victim of an attempted carjacking in Etobicoke yesterday says her situation could've been much worse if bystanders had not intervened and that the incident left her sad rather than furious.

The woman, who asked not to be identified, had just parked her vehicle at the Walmart Supercentre near Islington Avenue and Bergamot Avenue Tuesday when three males approached her and demanded her keys.

They grabbed her purse and a violent struggle ensued, during which she was knocked to the ground, police said. She started screaming loudly.

The suspects then took her keys but were unable to enter the vehicle. Two of them fled on foot while the third fell on the ground as he was running away. A nearby witness called 911 and the officers quickly arrived and arrested the suspect who fell.

A replica handgun was found nearby, as well as clothing allegedly worn by the other two suspects during the robbery, police said.

“I just want to thank everyone who did stop because if people had just kept driving by I think it would have ended up differently,” the woman told CP24. “They would have possibly hurt me more, or gotten my keys or I don't know. I just, I don't know what could have happened. But just thank you to everyone who did stop and everyone who did offer help.”

She said a number of vehicles slowed down in the parking lot as they realized what was happening and that some bystanders actually chased after the suspects.

A 16-year-old Toronto boy has been charged with robbery with a firearm and disguise with intent. Police are still trying to identify the other two suspects.

It's the latest in a string of carjackings in the city that have gained growing public attention recently.

One day before the Walmart incident, Maple Leafs star Mitch Marner was carjacked outside a movie theatre.

The high-profile incident prompted Toronto police to publicly flag a rise in carjackings. Insp. Richard Harris of the holdup squad told reporters that the city has already seen more carjackings this year than the 59 that were reported in all of 2021. Tuesday’s incident makes 61.



It's not entirely clear what is behind the trend, though profit is believed to be the main motive and police have noted that many of the suspects are quite young.

Talking with CP24 Wednesday about her experience, the woman who struggled with her attackers outside the Walmart parking lot Tuesday said she feels sad and disappointed about the incident rather than angry.

“It made me sad,” she said. “When I looked into the guy's eyes who came to me, like he looked so young and even so soft-spoken and if anything, I feel sad. They’re kids.”

The woman said the incident makes her wonder what is happening in society that is driving young kids to make poor choices.

“I work with kids and I see that there's so much potential in young kids, and they could be anything they choose to be. And just, it makes me sad that these kids chose that way.”

While she describes herself as being more shocked than afraid, she said she worries about what might've happened if another family member had been attacked.

“I think I was more fearful when I was telling other people just because like it could have been my daughter,” she said.

Asked what she would say to her attackers, she said she would urge them to "make better choices for yourself.”

“If you don't get caught this time, you'll get caught next time,” she said.  “It’s just a bad path to follow.”

She said she understands that many people come from tough homes, but added that everyone has the potential for good.

“They have so much, so much that they could do with their lives and I just hope that people just tap into their skills and just work (to) better themselves. You know, don't fall into this.”

- With a report by CP24’s Steve Ryan