The Red Tea Detox

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TORONTO — Gunfire broke out and a stampede ensued as fans celebrated at a rally Monday 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. Investigators didn’t discuss a possible motive for the attack.

Droves of Raptors fans stampeded from the shooting in the City Hall square, which was packed with tens of thousands. Earlier Monday, well over a million fans packed downtown Toronto for a parade for the Raptors, raising concerns about safety 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 was life-threatening. Others suffered minor injuries as they tried to get away from the shooting, said Saunders, who asked for witnesses to come forward and help investigators.


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


“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.

“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,” Trudeau tweeted. “We won’t let this act of violence take away from the spirit of today’s parade.”

Mike Mudidi said he was enjoying the celebration when he heard screams behind him that someone had drawn a gun.


“I just grabbed my buddies’ hands and ran,” he said.

Fan Phil D’Souza said the violence left a bad taste in his mouth, and he questioned whether he would attend a similar event in the future.

“You couldn’t see the shooter but it was that kind of chaos where you’re just expecting to see somebody coming around the corner. It was that kind of vibe,” D’Souza said.

There were at least four abandoned strollers in the square, indicating parents might have grabbed their children and ran. Shoes, clothing and bags were left behind.

Canada’s biggest city, population 2.9 million, is considered one of the safest cities in North America.

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.

Some 1.5 million fans withstood packed conditions to attend the parade.

As the parade inched forward — discernibly behind schedule — a number of Toronto players could not help but marvel at the fan response.

“It’s been amazing,” Leonard said. “Thank you, Toronto. Thank you, Canada, for the support. We did it.”


Rob Gillies and Ian Harrison are Associated Press writers.

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