NEWS
06/17/2019 16:23 EDT | Updated 06/17/2019 21:22 EDT

Raptors Parade Shooting At Nathan Phillips Square Investigated By Toronto Police

Gunshots momentarily halted celebrations and caused panic at the Square, where thousands of fans were packed in.

A boisterous celebration for the Toronto Raptors was disrupted when gunshots erupted at Nathan Phillips Square Monday afternoon.

Police said they found four victims, none with life-threatening injuries.

The square was the final stop in the Raptors celebration parade which started earlier that morning. It had reached capacity and police were working to stop more fans from entering. 

 WATCH: Police respond to Raptors parade shooting. Story continues after video.

Around 2:30 p.m. ET police received reports of shots fired. They initially said they found two gunshot victims near Bay and Albert streets.

One was a woman, police spokesman Const. David Hopkinson said. 

Three people were arrested and two handguns were found. Police chief Mark Saunders is appealing to witnesses at the scene to come forward with information.

Tijana Martin/Canadian Press
First responders attend to an injured person during the Toronto Raptors NBA championship victory celebration near Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto on June 17, 2019. 

The sound of gunfire led many people to flee the crowded downtown area in a panic. 

“It sounded like there was a herd of elephants coming towards us or something and we were all pushed forward,” Miriam Valdes-Carletti, who was at the square during the incident, told HuffPost Canada.

“Everyone was on top of each other and as people were helping me up I saw shoes, backpacks, glasses and other stuff all over the ground.”

Valdes-Carletti said she didn’t hear the shots so it was a “complete shock” when people were suddenly on the ground.

Hopkinson said police responded “quickly” and the festivities continued because police deemed there was no threat to public safety.

The city ground to as the parade wound its way to the square over several hours to cheer the Raptors’ first-ever NBA championship. Many fans said they decided not to go to school or work so they could attend the massive celebration.

Host Matt Devlin stopped celebrations on stage for a brief moment to make an announcement about the incident. He said there was an emergency being dealt with, but asked the crowd to remain calm.

Several had huddled near pillars in Nathan Phillips Square even as the team and several dignitaries — including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford — remained on stage during the rally. Others dashed into a nearby hotel or leapt into bushes to get out of the way. The ceremony wrapped up a short time later.

Tory posted a statement on the shooting afterwards, calling it an “unfortunate” event on an “otherwise spectacularly successful day.”

“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.”

The parade, which included five open-air double-decker buses carrying the players, slowed to a crawl and at times halted completely due to the crush of people along the route. 

Construction workers watched the festivities from scaffolding along the route, and as traffic ground to a standstill on a nearby thoroughfare, some motorists left their vehicles to peer at the activity.

The Raptors’ championship win last week came in Game 6 of a rollercoaster series that captured national attention. 

With files from The Canadian Press