Canada: Two shot, two arrested at Raptors celebration rally

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At least two people were shot and wounded at a rally on Monday for the NBA champions, the Toronto Raptors. Police said there were two arrests in connection with the shooting, which was followed by a stampede in central Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square. 

The city’s police said on Twitter that they recovered two firearms from the scene. 

Toronto Paramedic Services said, also on Twitter, that several people were injured, including a police officer, and were taken to hospital.

Toronto police spokeswoman Allison Sparkes confirmed the shootings and arrests.

She added that an investigation had been launched, but “no incidents” were currently under way. 

Video circulating on social media showed large crowds rushing away from the area.

The area was packed with an estimated two million jubilant Raptors fans, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, raising safety concerns earlier on as problems with overcrowding persisted.

Mike Mudidi told The Associated Press he was enjoying the celebrations when he heard screams behind him that someone had pulled out a gun. He said he froze as people started running in all directions.

“I just grabbed my buddies’ hands and ran,” he said, noting he was startled but otherwise OK.

Before the shooting incident, police lifted those seeking safety over barricades to help them escape the crush of revellers. 

City officials have prevented any further entry into the square and have shut down several subway stations near the parade due to overcrowding.

The shooting interrupted the festivities briefly but the ceremony resumed shortly after with Trudeau, Toronto’s mayor and the Raptors players remaining on stage.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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