Toronto Police are searching desperately for a young teen who they say was pushed into a jeep by two men on Wednesday morning while screaming “help me, help me.”
An Amber Alert rang out for 14-year-old Shammah Jolayemi just after midnight on Thursday, though police say witnesses saw the boy being abducted on Wednesday morning around 8:26 a.m. near Jane Street and Driftwood Avenue, just north of Finch.
The teen’s parents were unaware that the boy never made it to school yesterday and reported him missing around 5:30 p.m.
Shammah was wearing a gray hoodie, a shiny black coat, gray trackpants with a thin orange stripe and black and yellow Nike Air Jordans at the time of his disappearance, according to police.
The teen is described as around 5’11” with a slim build and short dark brown hair.
Police believe that he was abducted by two male suspects wearing black jackets and bandanas on their heads. The suspects are described as black, between the ages of 18 and 22, around six feet tall and with thin builds.
A vehicle of interest is described as a black Jeep Wrangler with oversized front tires, a front-mounted brush bar and round fog lights. It was last seen in North York.
“We wouldn’t [request an Amber Alert] if we didn’t think that the 14-year-old was in danger,” said Toronto Police Insp. Jim Gotell to reporters early Thursday.
“We are very concerned for his safety.”
“To the two people who took this 14-year-old,” said Gotell, addressing the suspects directly. “We are asking them if they are seeing this to release Shammah to a place of safety where he can be returned to his family.”
Many on Twitter are likewise concerned for the teen’s safety, and are wondering why it took so long for police to issue an Amber Alert.
“Wait 15 hours until after the boy has gone missing (and when most of the province is asleep) and issue an Amber Alert at midnight… or instead wait 13 hours after the boy is missing and issue an Amber alert while most of the province is awake and can actually do something?” questioned one Twitter user of the timing.
“When a black child is missing in the morning and Toronto Police send out an Amber Alert at midnight about the abduction… #straightRACISM,” wrote another.
The fact that police were tweeting about the abduction (and their extreme concern for the child’s safety) at least an hour before the Amber Alert was issued irked many.
Once the alert was called, along came with it the usual torrent of people from all over Ontario griping about the fact that they were woken up in the middle of the night, despite not living anywhere near the site of the abduction.
“Okay I know there are those who will be angry at me for saying this BUT there is no point in an amber alert at 11 at night from Toronto Police going out to places like here 1865.3 kms away, officially over a 20 hour drive,” tweeted one annoyed Ontarian. “Amber Alerts were meant for a quick response in the area.”
“I just want you to know, an Amber alert in Thunder Bay doesn’t help anyone in Toronto. There isn’t much we can do,” wrote another. “There I made it better lol.”
Like all modern Amber Alerts, this one prompted just as much (if not more) preempitve virtue-signalling as it did actual complaints.
“Another night time amber alert so it has to be said: If you complain about an amber alert IN ANY WAY,SHAPE OR FORM, you might be a piece of shit,” wrote one Twitter user who should surely be nominated for some type of peace award.
“Stop it, and go sit in a quiet space and reflect on how you can change your shitty ways.”
“Amber alert just went off. My kids and Grandkids are safe in bed! So who will be the ignorant idiot to complain about being woken up?” wrote another without prompting. “If it was my family member missing I hope everyone would be awakened by this alert!”
Toronto Police are asking anyone who may have seen young Shammah, the vehicle he is believed to have been taken in, or people matching the description of the suspects to contact 911 immediately.
“Police are extremely concerned for his safety and urge anyone who recognizes him, or has any information about his whereabouts, to contact officers,” wrote police in a media release.
“Officers also want to speak to the boy’s step-brother Olalekan Osikoya and encourage him to contact police.”