Injuries not life-threatening, arrests made ‘incredibly quickly,’ police chief says
Four people were shot at a rally celebrating the Toronto Raptors’ first NBA championship on Monday afternoon, as indicated by police, in the midst of a celebration that saw a great many fans crowd into the city’s downtown center.
Police arrested three people into custody and recovered two firearms, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders told reporters.
Two individuals were arrested regarding one shooting, while the third was captured regarding the other. He did not go into further details.
The shootings happened around 3:45 p.m. ET, at Bay and Albert lanes — close city lobby and Nathan Phillips Square where a rally capping off a triumph march was finding some close.
The four victims suffered non-dangerous injuries and the arrests were done “incredibly quickly,” Saunders said.
Toronto Mayor John Tory, who was on the stage in the square when the shooting happened, thanked police in a statement later for their quick response to the incident.
“It is disappointing and I’m certain 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.”
Tory also commended the millions of people who celebrated “our beloved Raptors” peacefully.
Saunders appealed observers to witnesses to help police with the investigations. Police estimate that more than one million people lined the parade route and attended the rally.
Saunders said police wanted to keep the day “celebratory,” despite the violence.
“In this specific case, as a result of the snappy anxieties and the reality we had the option to control the circumstance as well as could be expected in a brief timeframe, the occasion had the option to go on,” he said.
Saunders was asked if police were prepared for the large number of people at the parade given that at several points there weren’t any barricades set up to keep the crowds off the route. The crowds seemed to slow down the parade, which arrived at Nathan Phillips Square three hours later than scheduled.
“This is a once in a lifetime for so many people,” Saunders said.
“It took a little longer, but I don’t think people were interested in the timelines.”
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.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) June 18, 2019
Matt Devlin, the master of ceremonies for the rally paused briefly to let the crowd know there was an emergency situation and to advise revelers to stay calm.
“This is about love, it’s about rejoicing,” he told the people gathered in and around city hall’s public square. He urged fans to stay strong and “stay together.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Tory, and team executives and players remained on the scene.
Within moments, the speeches continued.
Devlin’s reaction prompted praise from at least one police officer.
“Amazing job … taking over the mic and keeping all under control during the police response. You my sir settling the crowd saved (many) injuries, great work!” the officer tweeted.
“I had … to make sure everybody was calm because you don’t want that to trigger something else. Hopefully, I was able to do that in some small way,” said the Syracuse, N.Y., native, also known as Matty D.
“I felt like I wanted to keep talking, because the longer that I talked, the calmer people would be. And hopefully, that’s the case.”
And again. People running away from the right side. Not sure what’s going on pic.twitter.com/1fEoGoaVMl
— Meagan Fitzpatrick (@fitzpatrick_m) June 17, 2019
Nathan Phillip's Square
-Reports of woman shot
-People running from area
-Police/EMS are on scene
-Unknown what the injuries are#GO112676
— Toronto Police OPS (@TPSOperations) June 17, 2019
SHOOTING AT THE RAPTORS CHAMPIONSHIP PARADE. I RAN TO MY COUSIN’S OFFICE!!!! IT’S CHAOS pic.twitter.com/TQXBEngChf
— A-HA-HA-HA-HA (@shamaplan) June 17, 2019
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