TORONTO – Four people were shot and injured during a rally Monday for the Toronto Raptors, NBA champions, and three people were arrested, police said.
Fans of Droves of Raptors fled the shooting in a scramble of City Hall Square, filled with tens of thousands of people. About 1.5 million spectators gathered earlier in downtown Toronto for a parade for the Raptors, raising concerns about security and overcrowding.
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said four people were shot and wounded, but none of these wounds put his life at risk. Others suffered minor injuries while they were trying to avoid the shooting, said Saunders, who asked that witnesses and people likely to film videos come forward and help them. investigators.
"We have people arrested with guns, and that's the beginning of the investigation," Saunders said.
When asked if there was any targeted or terrorism-related shootings, police spokeswoman Allison Sparkes said the investigation was "in the dark." In progress.
During a speech from one of the owners of the team, the host of the demonstration interrupted the procedure to alert the crowd in case of emergency and asked for calm . Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Toronto Mayor John Tory, NBA Finals chief Kawhi Leonard and other Raptors players were on stage at the time.
"I want to make sure everyone stays calm," said host, athletic director Matt Devlin. "It's serious, everyone stays calm … There is an emergency under treatment."
Those on the stage stayed in place and the speeches resumed shortly thereafter.
"I hope that all those injured during the shooting today will recover quickly, and I would like to thank the Toronto police for acting so quickly," he said. tweeted Trudeau. the parade today. & # 39; & # 39;
Mike Mudidi said that he enjoyed the celebrations when he heard screaming behind him that someone had pulled out a gun. He said he was frozen when people started running in all directions.
"I just grabbed my friends' hands and ran," he said.
The Raptors fan, Phil D & # 39; Souza, said the violence had left him a bad taste in the mouth. He asked if he would attend a similar event in the future.
"You could not see the shooter, but it was that kind of chaos where you expected to see someone coming around the corner – it was that kind of vibration," he said. D & # 39; Souza.
Another fan said the rout was scary.
"When you see a group of people coming to you, you do not know what to do, whether you run or not, you do not want to be trampled on," Sam Sunday said.
Tory, the mayor, thanked the police for his quick response.
"It's disappointing and, I'm sure, angry for more than me that anyone who carries a gun and discharge it on the occasion of a joyous celebration," Tory said in a statement. be held responsible to the fullest extent permitted by law. I wish to congratulate and thank the millions of others who have happily and peacefully celebrated our dear raptors in Toronto. & # 39; & # 39;
Earlier, Tory had urged everyone in the city to come out and celebrate the first Raptors championship and said on Monday that "we were the day of the north", borrowing the slogan of the franchise.
"Toronto, more than a million of us have invaded the streets to celebrate our Raptors," tweeted Councilman Joe Cressy. "People of all ages, all races, all religions – from our city, as terrible as the shooting was and terrifying to many in the crowd after, do not let that escape us."
Fans resisted packed 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 tired and tired, but I'm going to stick around," he said. "When will I be able to do it?"
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.
John Moreira called his work to participate in the first celebration of this magnitude in Toronto since the 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.
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," said Leonard. "Thank you, Toronto, thank you, Canada, for your support, we've done it."
Several fans with signs implored Leonard to sign again with the Raptors. He will be free agent this summer.
"It's incredible," he said.
Associated Press contributed to this report.