Police say they’ve made 17 arrests and seven officers were injured after a violent night at Toronto’s Woodbine Beach that saw two people shot, one person stabbed, two others robbed at gunpoint and running street battle4s involving fireworks through Sunday evening.
Video posted to social media showed groups of people firing Roman candles at one another, physical fights and crowds spilling onto streets.
A CP24 crew at the beach on Sunday night witnessed several incidents involving people firing fireworks from cars at people and other vehicles.
They said the area was so chaotic they could not set up a tripod and begin a broadcast.
Toronto police Insp. Jeff Bassingwaite said of the seven officers injured, one broke a leg in pursuit of a shooting suspect, and others were struck by multiple fireworks.
“One officer broke a leg while responding to a shooting,” he told reporters on Monday, “Two were injured by fireworks and another officer was struck directly in the face with a firework and suffered serious abrasions to his face ears and eyes”
“This is unacceptable behaviour and we will continue to investigate all of these incidents.”
All seven officers have now been released from hospital.
Bassingwaite said they investigate a shooting that eventually sent two people to hospital, along with a separate stabbing at the beach and two robberies involving firearms in the course of several hours.
One shooting victim was located at the scene while a second made their own way to hospital.
A total of 17 arrests have been made so far and more are expected.
Toronto police told CP24 they are investigating several additional incidents they’ve been made aware of from Sunday, but couldn’t comment specifically on any instance until they obtain more information.
On Monday, police said they will be at the scene with municipal bylaw enforcement officers to patrol the area.
“A number of police resources will be in the area tonight to facilitate what we hope can be a peaceful and safe celebration for the many people and families celebrating the long weekend,” Bassingwaite said.
A neighbourhood watch group in the area wrote the ward councillor Brad Bradford and Mayor John Tory, asking to cancel Monday night’s fireworks.
“By the time the dust settled, there were two shootings, a stabbing, personal injuries and property damage,” Cindy Cass, a local police community liaison, wrote. “I fear that tonight’s fireworks display will result in the same or worse.”
Monday’s fireworks will be set off Ashbridges Bay Park at 10 p.m.
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