One witness says he heard a huge explosion, before coming upon a chaotic scene of broken glass and bloodied diners at a Mississauga Indian restaurant late Thursday, while another spotted two men running away from the scene.
Peel Regional Police allege two disguised men entered the Bombay Bhel restaurant, near a major Mississauga, Ont. intersection, planted an improvised explosive device and then fled. Moments later, at around 10:30 p.m. the device detonated, injuring at least 15 people.
Nobody was killed, but when international student Rafael Concaceicao raced to the scene from a nearby patio, he saw a number of people who were bleeding and one man who appeared to have glass lodged in his eye, he said.
“Glass was broken in the street … everything was destroyed. Lots of blood in the floor,” Concaceicao told CBC Toronto.
“Many people were screaming. They were trying to run out from the restaurant.”
A woman comforts two children inside a Peel Regional Police cruiser in the moments after the explosion.(Tony Smyth/CBC)
Paramedics wheeled a number of people away on stretchers. Others limped away. Amid the flashing lights, one woman comforted an infant in the back seat of a police cruiser.
Neighbour spots 2 men running
Shitan Yan was getting groceries from his car when he heard the blast and then saw two men dressed in hoodies run “like crazy” past him.
Yan said both men appeared to be young, but he couldn’t discern anything else about them.
Investigators continue to search for clues near the Bombay Bhel on Friday. (Martin Trainor/CBC)
“They looked back for a while and then just kept running,” he said.
Yan said he didn’t realize how serious the explosion was until he checked the news this morning, and police came to interview him about what he saw.
Owners of ‘loving restaurant’
In a Facebook post, the restaurant’s owners described the situation as “extremely horrific and sad.”
Mohan Nagpal, the restaurant’s owner, and several members of his family were inside at the time of the blast, according to his son-in-law, Ilija Vasic.
“They’re OK,” he said, adding Nagpal wants to gather his thoughts before addressing the tragedy in the media.
Vasic said he has no idea why anyone would want to bomb what he calls a “loving restaurant.”
“It’s surreal, to say the least,” he said.
Vasic was called to the restaurant last night, but said he didn’t look at the destruction. Instead, he focused on helping police with the investigation.
Major police response
Andre Larrivee, who lives in a nearby condominium, was watching TV when he heard the blast.
“It was really loud,” he said, comparing it to the sound of an electric generator that had exploded at a nearby construction site recently.
Bombay Bhel Restaurant Bombing – More Pics 2. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Mississauga?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Mississauga</a> <a href=”https://t.co/wDq7eD8P2A”>pic.twitter.com/wDq7eD8P2A</a>
Jess Dalessandro pulled into the parking lot to go to a nearby Shoppers Drug Mart moments after the blast and watched as police and paramedics descended on the plaza at Hurontario Street and Eglinton Avenue East.
She described a sense of calm among the chaos. “No one was freaking out,” she said, adding many people in the plaza were suggesting it was just a minor kitchen explosion.
The fact that it was a bomb, she said, is “terrifying.”
Dalessandro said she began realizing the seriousness of the incident as police quickly cordoned off the entire area and a tactical team rolled in. She said she heard one officer calling for a drone to be deployed.
Officers still wouldn’t let her move her truck out of the parking lot on Friday morning.
Police haven’t suggested a motive for the attack.
Investigators were seen photographing footprints in a nearby subdivision that may belong to the two bombing suspects. Officers clad in white suits were also inspecting the restaurant’s doorway.