TORONTO – Rabia Warren-Paul was inside her apartment with her mother, stepfather and little brother when she heard the gunfire.
The 11-year-old girl was startled by what sounded "like firecrackers" in the area where a community barbecue was being held.
She opened the door to a girl holding her bloody right arm, pleading for help.
"This girl Ashley came in with her two friends. She had a hole in her arm," Rabia said Tuesday outside the Danzig St. public housing complex in Toronto's Scarborough neighbourhood, where gunfire erupted late Monday killing two people and wounding 21 others.
"I called 911 and they told me to keep talking to her and put pressure on the wound. She passed out but was still breathing," Rabia said, adding her parents brought a pillow to the 15-year-old injured girl.
"I was outside five minutes before it happened," Rabia's mother, Melissa, 37, said. "I opened the door and her two friends were screaming for their lives. I didn't know if there was going to be more gunshots. It took forever for the ambulance to get here.”
Rabia said the teen girl was moaning in pain because the bullet had hit her in her bone. She was also concerned about her 13-year-old brother, Tahir, who was still outside.
"I hid behind this car," Tahir said. "I saw my friend's brother running, so I ran with him into someone's house."
People were "running and dropping because they had been shot," Melissa said in describing the chaotic scene. Five people had been shot right outside her unit.
A 22-month-old girl who was shot — suffering non-life-threatening injuries — had been happily playing outside in the courtyard in the afternoon during the first few hours of the barbecue.
"I was watching her play all day," Melissa said, shaking her head. "It's such a tragedy."
Melissa said police stopped at the barbecue, prior to the shooting, and told organizers to keep the noise down.
Despite the bloodshed and panic, Melissa said she's proud of her daughter's heroic actions.
"She was brave," she said. "She stayed with her. She did great."