Person of interest, additional firearm sought as investigation into shooting at Raptors rally unfolds
As an investigation into a shooting during the Toronto Raptors victory rally in the downtown core unfolds, investigators have provided a brief description of a person of interest and said they are searching for an additional firearm.
Gunfire erupted amongst a crowd at Nathan Phillips Square of an estimated two million people as the Raptors were honoured for bringing home their first-ever NBA championship title on Monday.
At the time, the mass amount of people was encouraged to remain calm amidst an “emergency situation” before the celebration continued as planned.
Along with the Toronto Raptors, several dignitaries, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Toronto Mayor John Tory, and the team’s global ambassador Drake were in attendance.
While three people were taken into police custody shortly after shots were fired and charges related to firearm offences have been laid against them, Saunders said officers are still working to “connect the dots.”
“There is a tremendous amount of video that has to be combed through, there has to be more search for witnesses – some people have helped us with the investigation that has led us to where we are with the quick apprehension of a couple of people,” he said.
However, Saunders said what police have seized thus far “is not consistent” with the evidence they have obtained in regards to a firearm that was discharged at the time.
“When we look at the casings we have identified that a gunshot has occurred and they are not matching the guns that we have seized so we know that there is potentially a firearm out there that was involved in the shooting and we are looking for witnesses to help us locate that particular person so that we have the opportunity to have a more fulsome investigation.”
In addition to the outstanding firearm, investigators are continuing to search for a person of interest in connection with the case.
“The description is male white between five-foot-nine and six-feet, has short light brown hair, heavy build, wearing a white button-down T-Shirt and this person was last seen running westbound on Queen Street,” Saunders said.
When asked if the incident was targeted, Saunders said he “can’t really answer that right now.”
“I don’t have enough evidence or information from the investigators – it’s still early with respect to the magnitude of the occurrence and the situation and the amount of things that have to be combed through,” he said. “As we get more we certainly will be giving that information.”
The three people arrested following the incident appeared briefly in court on Tuesday afternoon.
Shaquille Miller, 25, is facing eight charges including assaulting a peace officer and unauthorized possession of a firearm.
Thanio Toussaint, 20, has also been charged with eight offences, including weapons and drug charges.
According to a news release issued by police Tuesday evening, both Miller and Toussaint were in possession of a handgun at the time of their arrest.
The third man who appeared in court was taken into custody on an outstanding warrant and is not believed to have been involved in Monday’s incident. He has been charged with numerous firearm and drug-related offences.
Miller is scheduled to appear in court on July 10 while Toussaint is scheduled to appear on Friday.
Police are urging anyone in the massive crowd who has any additional information to come forward.
“You can’t have two million people in that small space and say nobody saw anything,” Saunders said.