UPDATE | 4 shot, 3 arrested at Raptors rally in Toronto


TORONTO (AP) — Gunfire broke out and a stampede ensued as fans celebrated at a rally today for the NBA champion Raptors, leaving four people shot and thousands fleeing less than a block from where the players and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sat on stage.

Three people were arrested and two guns were recovered, Toronto police said, and investigators did not discuss a possible motive for the attack.

Droves of Raptors fans ran from the shooting in a stampede from the City Hall square, which was packed with tens of thousands of people. Earlier Monday, well over a million fans packed downtown Toronto for a parade for the Raptors, raising concerns about safety and overcrowding as the city celebrated its first major sports title in more than a quarter-century.

Police Chief Mark Saunders said four people suffered gunshot wounds but said none of the injuries were life-threatening. Others suffered minor injuries as they tried to get away from the shooting, said Saunders, who asked for witnesses and people who might have video to come forward and help investigators.

Andrew Singh said he heard what appeared to be gunshots and that a woman was wounded before people started scrambling.

"We just saw the girl drop to the floor and the guy running off," the 29-year-old said. "All I heard was, 'bop bop bop.'

Asked if it was a targeted shooting or terrorism-related, police spokeswoman Allison Sparkes said the investigation was ongoing.

During a speech from one of the team owners, the host of the rally interrupted the proceedings to alert the crowd to an emergency and asked for calm. Trudeau, Toronto Mayor John Tory, NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and other players were among those on stage at the time.

"I want to make sure everyone stays calm," said the host, sportscaster Matt Devlin. "This is serious. Everyone stay calm ... There is an emergency being dealt with."

Those on stage remained in place and speeches resumed shortly after.

6:24 p.m.

TORONTO (AP) — Two people were shot and wounded at a rally today for the NBA champion Raptors, and two people were arrested, police said.

Droves of Raptors fans ran from the shooting in a stampede from the City Hall square, which was packed with tens of thousands of fans. A million or more fans earlier packed downtown Toronto for a parade for the Raptors, raising concerns about safety and overcrowding.

Toronto police spokeswoman Allison Sparkes later confirmed two people were shot and two were arrested. Two firearms were recovered.

"We have no incidents currently underway. Crowds are dispersing," Sparkes said.

Asked if it was a targeted shooting or terrorism-related, Sparkes said the investigation was ongoing.

During a speech from one of the team owners, the host of the rally interrupted the proceedings to alert the crowd to an emergency and asked for calm. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Toronto Mayor John Tory, NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and other players were among those on stage at the time.

"I want to make sure everyone stays calm," said the host, sportscaster Matt Devlin. "This is serious. Everyone stay calm. ... There is an emergency being dealt with."

Those on stage remained in place and speeches resumed shortly after.

Mike Mudidi said he was enjoying the celebrations when he heard screams behind him that someone had pulled out a gun. He said he froze as people started running in all directions.

"I just grabbed my buddies' hands and ran," he said.

Tory previously urged every city resident to come celebrate the Raptors' first championship and declared Monday as "We The North Day," after the franchise's slogan.

"Toronto, more than a million of us flooded the streets today to celebrate our Raptors," city councilman Joe Cressy tweeted. "People of all every age, every race, every religion – our City. As awful as the shooting was and terrifying for many in the crowd afterwards, don't let it take away from our moment."

Some 1.5 million fans withstood packed conditions to attend the parade. Nicolas Caramanna, 21, said the crowd started to get rowdy shortly after he arrived at 9 a.m.

More like this from vindy.com

Subscribe Today

Sign up for our email newsletter to receive daily news.

Want more? Click here to subscribe to either the Print or Digital Editions.