Acts of kindness emerge at chaotic Raptors rally derailed by shooting

TORONTO — When gunshots sparked panic and chaos at a massive outdoor celebration for Toronto’s NBA champions this week, some fans caught in the stampede worked to keep others out of danger, at times putting their own safety at risk.

As authorities now look to learn lessons from the event marred by overcrowding and violence on Monday, accounts of acts of kindness by complete strangers have emerged.

The shooting — which took place shortly after the Raptors went on stage during a victory rally at Nathan Phillips Square — injured four people, police said. Three people were arrested and two firearms were recovered, with investigators still looking for another suspect and firearm.

As hordes of fans scattered in fear, Mo Hussein said a group of young adults he had just met helped shield his three-year-old daughter from the crowd.

Hussein had gone to the rally with family members, including his niece and nephew, and ran into some of his niece’s friends, whom he did not previously know. His daughter had just fallen asleep in her stroller when shots set off a wave of panic in the packed square, he said.

“All of a sudden the crowd started running towards us,” he said. “Fortunately I didn’t panic, my first thoughts were to protect my daughter who was asleep in the stroller. I just told people around me to come help me protect the stroller.”

Hussein said his niece’s friends formed a semi-circle around the stroller, protecting his daughter, who remained blissfully unaware of the commotion around her. When the crowd dispersed, “there were strollers around, there were shoes strewn all over the place, peoples’ hats and personal possessions all over the place,” he said.

That selfless act from the group prevented what could have been a terrible outcome, said Hussein, noting many children were put at risk at a purportedly family-friendly event.

“It basically means that even at the most evil point, humanity prevails,” he said. “(My niece’s friends) were afraid themselves and they were shivering after the fact, a lot of them had tears in their eyes and the fact that they were brave enough to actually help protect my daughter is something I really appreciate.”

Raptors victory rally

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deerian asking Alberta pharmacists to unite and give back

A Red Deer phamacy owner says it’s time pharmacists open their wallets… Continue reading

Man charged after licking products in store as part of ‘COVID Challenge:’ police

TABER, Alta. — A man from southern Alberta has been charged with… Continue reading

Cornerstone Youth Theatre unites youth virtually

Think of a song … and now speak it. That’s what Cornerstone’s… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

Message from Remax Commercial: What to do when ‘sorry we’re temporarily closed’ is part of your business as landlord or tenant

Do you have questions about rent reductions or deferral of lease payments? Experts can help

JoAnne Hayden named new executive director of Aspire

JoAnne Hayden is no stranger to the Aspire Special Needs Resource Centre… Continue reading

Three things you should do while self-isolating at home

Thank you to the Red Deer Advocate for its excellent coverage of… Continue reading

Surely, Red Deer residents should be able to enjoy their garden plots

Re: “Garden plots a victim of virus,” April 7. Has Karen Mann,… Continue reading

Virus fight destined to become whack-a-mole

It’s wrong to say that there is no exit strategy from the… Continue reading

Blackfalds Food Bank Society in need of donations through COVID-19 pandemic

Food Bank accepts both physical and financial donations

Most Read