A Tale of Two Championship Cities: St. Louis Parade Peaceful While Four Shot in Toronto Celebration

A woman is treated by a paramedic after being pulled from the crowd during the Toronto Raptors NBA basketball championship parade in Toronto, Monday, June 17, 2019. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)

Two north American cities celebrated major sport championships in the last few days. On Saturday, hundreds of thousands crowded into downtown St. Louis to celebrate the first Stanley Cup championship in the St. Louis Blues 52-year history.

As multiple media reports detail, a joyous time was had by all.

 

St. Louis consistently ranks as one of the most violent cities in the country. And yet the parade and multiple celebrations came off without a hitch.

The story was different, however, for our neighbor to the north. Yesterday Toronto held its own parade after the Raptors won their first NBA championship. Crowds estimated somewhere between one and two million packed the city’s downtown, but things didn’t go as smoothly as they did in the Gateway City.

From ESPN:

Four people were shot and wounded at a rally Monday for the NBA champion Toronto Raptors, and three people were arrested, police said.

Droves of Raptors fans ran from the shooting in a stampede from the City Hall square, which was packed with tens of thousands of people. An estimated 1.5 million fans earlier packed downtown Toronto for a parade for the Raptors, raising concerns about safety and overcrowding.

Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said four people suffered gunshot wounds but added that none of the injuries were life-threatening. Others suffered minor injuries as they tried to get away from the shooting, said Saunders, who asked for witnesses and people who might have video to come forward and help investigators.

 

It’s a wonder that more people weren’t hurt in the stampede after the shooting.

Canada, of course, has much stricter gun control laws that does the state of Missouri, a constitutional carry state. And yet those gun laws did nothing to prevent a situation in which dozens or more could have been seriously hurt or worse.

Here’s the AP’s report . . .

By ROB GILLIES and IAN HARRISON

TORONTO (AP) — 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, and investigators did not discuss a possible motive for the attack.

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

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

“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 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.

Raptors 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.

Another fan said the stampede was scary.

“When you see a bunch of people coming at you, you don’t know what to do, whether to run or not. You don’t want to get stampeded over,” Sam Sunday said.

There were at least four abandoned strollers in the square, indicating parents may have grabbed their children and run. Shoes, clothing and bags were left behind. An entire nearby intersection was cordoned off with police tape.

Tory, the mayor, thanked police for their quick response and said he was angered by the shooting.

“It is disappointing and I’m sure 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 said in a statement. “I hope those found responsible will be held to account to the full extent that the law permits. I want to commend and thank the millions of other people who happily and peacefully celebrated our beloved Toronto Raptors.”

Canada’s biggest city, with a population of 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. Nicolas Caramanna, 21, said the crowd started to get rowdy shortly after he arrived at 9 a.m.

Many others chose to miss school or work. Cypher Sabanal, 15, said his mom let him skip class to attend the celebration.

John Moreira called in sick to work so he could be part of Toronto’s first celebration of this magnitude since the Blue Jays won the World Series in 1993.

“I told my boss I wanted to be at the parade and he said there wasn’t much he could do if I called in sick, so that’s exactly what I did,” the 31-year-old said.

As the parade inched forward — discernibly behind schedule — a number of Raptors 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.”

Several fans were seen carrying signs imploring Leonard to re-sign with the Raptors. He will be a free agent this summer.

Kyle Lowry, the team’s longest-tenured player, hoisted the Larry O’Brien Trophy while his teammates smoked cigars.

“This is unbelievable,” he said.

 

comments

  1. avatar barnbwt says:

    What’s this story have to do with anything? Cram 1.5 million people into downtown St Louis & you’d have the same result. Stupid people, places, things, etc

    1. avatar Leighton says:

      St. Louis has a high crime/shooting/murder rate. Even in a good year it ranks in the top ten.
      Toronto is usually very low in the crime statistics. And shootings? Nearly unheard of.

      1. avatar barnbwt says:

        Ergo…there is no point to this story, apart from a “man bites dog” angle. Certainly nothing to do with firearms laws, as the author is trying to assert. Is that the point? Because it reads more like he’s trying to claim Toronto’s “responsible gun laws” caused or exacerbated this issue.

        1. avatar Bubba says:

          No. He’s highlighting that all the immature (and arguably sociopathic) ‘thinking’ behind ‘gun control’ doesn’t actually amount to anything. Shootings can happen anywhere, and no magical words on a piece of paper can change that. Adults should have grown out of believing in pixies and fairy dust solutions.

        2. avatar Erik Weisz says:

          The point to the story is Toronto’s tyrannical gun laws did nothing to prevent anything, while St. Louis’ constitutional carry laws did nothing to exacerbate anything.

      2. avatar Dan in Detroit says:

        You’ve clearly not watched people get shot and bleed out in Toronto. I have.
        It happens everywhere, regardless of gun laws or restrictions. The only way to deal with it is to be ready for it, and the only thing that more laws do is prevent you from being ready.

      3. avatar WildGues says:

        Well, first off, they actually did pack about 1.5 million people into St. Louis for the parade and celebrations of the Stanley Cup. Second, you can’t really group St Louis in with the rest of missouri when it come to gun laws because the city ordinances (no guns on public transit, no guns in venues with over a certain capacity, no guns at certain public events) and business policies (most of them have posted gun free zone signs) make actually carrying a gun in StL a chore at best and impossible at worst. The one thing this shows is that StL, consistently rated as the best sports fans in the nation, can find common ground when it comes to team pride, regardless of any other conflicts.

    2. avatar BatPenguin says:

      I am from St. Louis. We had 500,000 to 750,000 in downtown St. Louis Friday. No shootings. St. Louis always ranks near the top for crime because of how our City and county structure is. St. Louis City is not part of St. Louis County. So our crime stats are not spread over the entire area. Once adjusted for the entire metropolitan area our crime rate in St. Louis falls dramatically. I live in the suburbs and I am very careful when I am in the city but overall I feel safe in the St. Louis area.

      1. avatar Gales314 says:

        I am more cautious in the city as i live in North County 270/dunn rd. Im glad we didnt have any shootings that day or fathers day i believe. Everyone came together for the rally/parade although i was at work.

    3. avatar BigNick says:

      Its comparing hockey fans to basketball fans. If you’ve never believed in dog whistles, here is an example

      1. avatar Ranger Rick says:

        The demographics tell the tale whether one wants to deal with them or not.

      2. avatar barnbwt says:

        Reverse the sports & I bet your ‘dog whistle’ claim fails. Hockey is huge in Canada, and Toronto has most definitely been beset by rioting hooligans in recent years (though I believe soccer holds the record for most obnoxious fans there, same as every place besides the US)

        1. avatar Chris Mallory says:

          Watching the videos, the hockey crowd is not very “diverse” or “vibrant”. The basketball crowd looked to be filled with “vibrant yutes”.
          Like it or not, culture is related to your genes.

        2. avatar barnbwt says:

          Europe has *always* (repeat: **ALWAYS**) had much worse riot tendencies than the US, regardless of demographics (well, apart from both involving young, intoxicated, dumbass men). It’s practically a pastime in France, and England is notorious for its soccer game behavior. Can’t blame that on genetics, I’m afraid.

    4. avatar Marc says:

      The point of this story is this; hockey fans gathering together in a large group, vs. basketball fans gathering in a large group.
      Think about it. Still thinking? I’ll give you a hint; demographics.

  2. avatar billy-bob says:

    Unpossible! The Immaculate One Barry himself, first of his name, said things like that don’t happen in other countries, only in the US, where we cling to our guns and religion. Did he lie? Again? Still?

  3. avatar Hunter427 says:

    “We the north day” is the slogan. Has to be a typo

  4. avatar Leighton says:

    Maybe it has something to do with the sports involved…and the fans associated with those sports.

    1. avatar Jim from LI says:

      The same thought occurred to me; thanks for bringing it up. Of course we’ll be told it’s strictly a coincidence.

      1. avatar daveinwyo says:

        This ^

    2. avatar Klaus says:

      Couldn’t be more obvious.

  5. avatar Jim Bullock says:

    Breaking: “4 wounded by ” celebrating” fan who didn’t have to resort to panel truck despite Canada’s draconian gun restrictions.”

    “Victims disarmed, mayhem guy not, at sports celebration in Toronto.”

    “Running away didn’t work for everyone in Toronto.”

    “Unable to handle unaccustomed joy of winning, Tronto fan snaps n shoots up (unarmed) crowd.”

  6. avatar Bierce Ambrose says:

    Clearly we need to ban Canadians winning at sports.

    Or maybe winning. Or sports.

    But no one is coming for your Canadians. (If you like your Canadian, you can keep your Canadian.)

    1. avatar Ogre says:

      I had a Canadian, but she divorced me about twenty years ago. Best thing that happened to me. She had a green card and as far as I know is still here in the Land of the Big PX, enjoying the ambiance. She didn’t want to go back up to the Great White North to try to find a job after we parted, even though her family wanted her to do so. There was no way she could have made the money up there that she could get down here.

    2. avatar Erik Weisz says:

      No one needs that many Canadians.

  7. avatar Geoff “Guns. Lots of guns.” PR says:

    I have heard more and more over the last few years as to how Toronto is turning into a real shithole. Russian crime rings and gangs with their ‘business dealings’…

    1. avatar Ogre says:

      When I was posted at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa (1969-72), there were plenty of foreigners wandering around, but little violence. For a while, I had a girlfriend who was second generation Ukrainian, and I learned a lot of interesting things about that country. They didn’t have the “melting pot” up there – immigrants stayed in their own neighborhoods and didn’t mingle much. The main “thing” was between the English (Anglophones) and Quebecois (Francophones) – they just plain didn’t like each other and sometimes there were fights. The city of Hull, Quebec, was just across the Ottawa River, so if I had wanted to learn French, I’d have hung out in the pubs there and found a pretty girl with whom to practise my language skills. Of course, Canada always wants to be socially avante garde, and so it is/was with their immigration policy – the Canadian immigration folks seldom turned anybody away, which really pissed off some of the old-timers with strong Scots-Irish-English heritage. For a while it was Sri Lankans – if they could set one foot on Canadian soil, they claimed refugee status and later became “landed” (i.e., legal) immigrants and maybe citizens. One of my Ottawa friends recently told me that the place has been taken over by immigrant Arabs, who doubtless fled their homelands to escape war or the restrictions of Islam and tribal culture, and who still practice their customs up there. When I was up there, there were plenty of long guns (not handguns) around – I once bought a Baikal 16-ga outside hammer double shotgun for about $100 – wish I still had it. I used to go back up there once in a while – I usually found it easier to get into Canada than back into the USA when I returned – it’s a beautiful place. The people, although reserved at first, are very friendly once they get to know you. Even the French.

  8. avatar former water walker says:

    Yeah I noticed that…hilarity ensued😋😄😊Bizarro world aaaaaaaa.

  9. avatar 12ga Reason says:

    The commie progressive Leftists NEVER go after the real criminals ie. their voting base!

    Chicago police: Half of all weekend gun arrestees already back on streets

    Chicago police say they took 56 illegal guns off city streets between Friday and Sunday and 22 people were arrested…..

    http://www.fox32chicago.com/news/local/police-more-than-half-of-weekend-gun-arrests-already-back-on-the-streets?fbclid=IwAR33CivpvEquslma3BFRYduZ2GnNzuxbe3KFzxm_jyoaKK5xfthN9xmb0K8

  10. avatar ROBERT Powell says:

    just look at the government?of canada,, marxist idiot for a premier, loves muslim invaders. welcomes the wild eyed crazes, draconian gun laws nothing but hate for trump, and the united states…where-as in st’louie, the locals are armed to the teeth, the cops have very good sniper gear, so do half of the revelers, everybody knows this is a winning party. not a looser’s party. SO EVERYBODY IS OUT TO HAVE FUN, NOT MAKE A POLITICAL POINT…

  11. avatar BatPenguin says:

    I am from St. Louis. We had 500,000 to 750,000 in downtown St. Louis Friday. No shootings. St. Louis always ranks near the top for crime because of how our City and county structure is. St. Louis City is not part of St. Louis County. So our crime stats are not spread over the entire area. Once adjusted for the entire metropolitan area our crime rate in St. Louis falls dramatically. I live in the suburbs and I am very careful when I am in the city but overall I feel safe in the St. Louis area. If you pay attention and don’t put yourself in stupid situations in the city, like looking for $3 parking for a Cardinals/Blues game so you are far away and parking in a dark area, spend the 30 to 50 dollars and park near the stadium/arena in a large well-lighted parking lot and you will be fine. I work in Downtown St. Louis. I just literally walked down Market street (same street Blues parade went down) was totally fine, ton of people out at the food trucks. We have our problems in St. Louis but it isn’t as bad as the stats or people report it to be.

  12. avatar ROBERT Powell says:

    just a little reminder ,,, canada has some of the most sophisticated facial recognition cameras in the world , capable of picking one face from thousands of others.. and that from roof-tops a couple of miles away… WAS IT ON??????

  13. avatar BatPenguin says:

    I also want to add that when the Rams won the Superbowl, the Cardinals won the World Series in 2006, 2011, and my Dad says it’s true for every Cardinal Championship he remembers, so 1982 (I was 5), 1967 and 1964. My Grandpa isn’t alive or else I could ask him about the 6 other Cardinal Championships. There is never violence in St. Louis because of celebrating the win.

  14. avatar strych9 says:

    Let’s see how much we can extrapolate from a single data point. I bet we arrive at a TON of valid conclusions.

  15. avatar El Duderino says:

    Hockey fans’ shenanigans are cheeky and fun. Basketball fans’ shenanigans are cruel and tragic.

    Which makes them not really shenanigans at all.

    Evil shenanigans.

    1. avatar BatPenguin says:

      Any sports championship celebrated in St. Louis has been peaceful. I know I live in St. Louis. Doesn’t matter that it was hockey.

      1. avatar Paco says:

        STL is a great city, congrats on the Blues win if you are a Hockey fan.

  16. avatar M. Murcek says:

    Much less to do with geography than with the fact one group of “revelers” was a hockey crowd, the other was the bassetbaw culture.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      Canada’s basketball demographic is not the same as it is here. It is basically the same demographic for all sports up there.

      1. avatar Chris Mallory says:

        Video of the basketball parade showed a very “vibrant’ crowd.
        Did you miss this article on how “diverse” the basketball fans of Toronto are?
        https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/14/opinion/sunday/raptors-warriors-canada.html?searchResultPosition=1

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          I guess you have never been to Jays or Leafs game. The crowd is just as diverse. But since you never leave your backwoods holloe so you wouldn’t know

  17. avatar Bubba says:

    Demographics are a far better predictor of violence – with a firearm or otherwise – than any particular legal framework context (eg. gun control laws).
    The stats don’t lie.

  18. avatar User1 says:

    Before this shooting there was another after the victory.

  19. avatar Sian says:

    St Louis needed this. The celebration around the Stanley Cup coming to the city for the first time is the city’s best chance so far to heal some from post-Ferguson tensions and hate.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      so much for the smug canadian assurances that “it can’t happen here”……

  20. avatar Will Drider says:

    It’s not the City, its the thuggie! Doesn’t matter if its a sports Title celebration or a 7 year olds B’Day party. Thugies do what thugies do and Laws don’t matter to them, until plea bargin time.

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