Panic and chaos at the Toronto Eaton Centre after stabbings
Toronto is reeling today in the wake of three separate violent incidents in and around the downtown core during Monday afternoon's Raptors Championship celebrations.
At least four people were taken to hospital yesterday after two stabbing incidents in and around the CF Toronto Eaton Centre, according to police.
The first incident, closer to Yonge-Dundas Square, saw three people stabbed inside the mall, all of them sustaining non-life-threatening injuries.
A second stabbing incident at the Eaton Centre near Bay Street saw one person transported to hospital with life-threatening injuries around 2:30 p.m.
Police did not immediately determine whether or not the stabbings were related, but they — and Eaton Centre employees — took every precaution to ensure that mall patrons were safe as chaos broke out.
"My young brother and I were just about to step out of the Eaton Centre on the Queen Street side when we were swarmed by guards and police telling us to run," says witness Michelle Gorkunberg.
"Immediately all the storefronts were shutting down, people were running and crying. I saw a few loose sandals in the suddenly eerily empty Eaton Centre."
With stores on lockdown, many shoppers took refuge with retail workers in back rooms.
Gorkunberg and other witnesses described a chaotic scene in which shoppers tried to flee north to Dundas Station, which was shut down.
Instead, a guard helped dozens of citizens into an underground employee tunnel to wait for roughly 20 minutes until they felt safe enough to exit the mall, which was evacuated for about half an hour.
"Was inside the Eaton Centre food court when panic broke out," wrote Sarah Krichel. "Reports say it was a stabbing but the moments hiding under a table were absolutely terrifying. People were running, screaming and crying. I had no idea what was going to happen."
Meanwhile, hundreds of people had gathered at the nearby Nathan Phillips Square for a post-parade rally to cheer on the Toronto Raptors in light of their first ever NBA Championship win.
Police say that a shooting broke out near the square's southeast corner during the rally at approximately 3:45 p.m., injuring at least four people.
Officers made three arrests and recovered two firearms in relation to the shooting. TPS is now appealing to witnesses for photo and video footage from the scene.
Suffice it to say, the situation was a mess — and fans were disappointed.
"One of my cousins was nearly trampled on while running away from gunshots at NPS," wrote one Twitter user. "Another had to hide in a store at the Eaton Centre to escape a horde fleeing a stabbing. Win an American championship, celebrate like an American city?"
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