4 Wounded In Shooting At Toronto Raptors Victory Celebration

Jun 17, 2019
Originally published on June 18, 2019 8:38 am

Four people were wounded in Toronto when gunfire broke out at a rally to honor the newly minted NBA champion Raptors.

The shootings, which occurred midafternoon, sparked a stampede from Nathan Philips Square, near City Hall, where tens of thousands of fans had gathered to celebrate the hometown professional basketball team.

Police are seen after a shooting during a victory celebration for NBA champion Toronto Raptors in Toronto on Monday in this picture obtained from social media.
Social media / Adam Dempsey

Earlier, well over a million people attended a celebratory parade.

None of the injuries, including those sustained during the stampede, were life-threatening, according to police, who quickly apprehended three suspects in connection with the shootings.

"We do have people arrested with firearms, and that's the start of the investigation," Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders told reporters. He appealed to witnesses to help police with the investigation.

Police spokeswoman Allison Sparkes declined to say whether authorities thought the shooting was targeted or terrorism-related, according to The Associated Press.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Toronto Mayor John Tory, NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and other players were onstage at the time of the shooting.

As the shots rang out, sportscaster Matt Devlin, the host of the rally, interrupted a speech by one of the team owners to alert the crowd to an emergency, according to AP.

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

Andrew Singh, 29, said he witnessed the shooting.

"We just saw the girl drop to the floor and the guy running off," Singh told the AP. "All I heard was, 'bop bop bop.' "

After the rally, Trudeau tweeted: "I hope all those injured in today's shooting have a speedy recovery, and I'd like to thank the Toronto police for acting so quickly. We won't let this act of violence take away from the spirit of today's parade."

Tory, the Toronto mayor, said: "It is disappointing and I'm sure a source of anger for more than just me that anyone would carry a gun and discharge it at what was otherwise a joyous celebration."

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