19 charged, including 10 minors, after violent night at Toronto beach
Police say they’ve made 19 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 battles 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 investigated 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 19 people were arrested and charged, including 10 minors. The charges laid include common nuisance, assaulting a peace officer with a weapon and robbery.
Two of the accused individuals appeared in court on Monday and the rest will appear in court on either July 11, 12 or 13.
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.
Toronto Mayor John Tory thanked police in a statement, calling the law-breaking "hooliganism."
"This is totally unacceptable behaviour and I support police doing all they can to protect people and keep the public safe. I discussed with (TPS) Chief Ramer this morning what additional steps could be taken to limit the presence of fireworks on our beaches and keep them safe going forward."
"Despite this hooliganism, officers were able to make arrests and make sure there are legal consequences for those breaking the law. I am thankful for the substantial presence of police and for the work they did under difficult circumstances."
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 to 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.
Chief Ramer said police will be visible at the park tonight for the fireworks celebration.