TORONTO – Some 1.5 million enthusiastic Raptors lovers gathered in downtown Toronto on Monday for a championship parade including shootings and overcrowding.
According to the Toronto police, two people were wounded "seriously but without putting their lives in danger" and two people were taken into custody.
Two firearms have also been recovered and an investigation is underway.
The shootings took place at Bay Street and Albert Street, on Nathan Phillip Square, crowded with spectators celebrating the Raptors NBA title. The festivities were briefly suspended following reports of the shooting, but speeches were resumed shortly thereafter.
The police also solved the problem of overcrowding at the end of the parade route and had to lift those who sought security over the barricades to help them escape the crowds. A child who was lifted over a fence and placed on a stretcher was among the evacuees.
Municipal authorities prevented any further entry into the square and closed several metro stations near the parade due to overcrowding.
Mayor John Tory had previously urged all residents to come out to celebrate the first Raptors championship and said Monday "We North" in Toronto, after the slogan of the franchise.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was to attend, as well as Ontario Premier Doug Ford. The rapper from Toronto, Drake, one of the Raptors' best-known fans, celebrated alongside his players one of the parade buses.
Millions of spectators and half esteemed resisted the conditions to attend the parade. Nicolas Caramanna, 21, said that the crowd had started to shake shortly after arriving at 9 o'clock.
"I'm really hot and tired, but I'm going to stay," he says. "When will I have a chance to do that?"
Many others have chosen to miss school or work. Cypher Sabanal, 15, said her mother had allowed her to jump into class to attend the celebration.
"I actually have exams this week, but being here is worth it," he said.
John Moreira went on sick leave to attend the first celebration of this magnitude in Toronto since the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series in 1993.
"I told my boss that I wanted to be on parade and he told me that he could not do much if I called him ill, so that's it." exactly what I did, "said the 31-year-old. "I'm looking forward to seeing the whole team, they all work very hard and deserve all the fans here."
As the parade advanced with a noticeable pitch, several Raptors could not help being amazed by the reaction of the fans.
"It's been amazing," the star advances Kawhi Leonard said. "Thank you Toronto, thank you Canada for the support, we did it."
Several fans with signs implored Leonard to sign again with the Raptors. The MVP twice in the final will be a free agent this summer.
Star goaltender Kyle Lowry, the oldest member of the team, was seen hoisting the Larry O'Brien Trophy while his teammates were smoking cigars.
"It's incredible," he said.
Associated Press contributed to this report.