One person has been arrested and police are searching for another following a shooting inside Yorkdale Shopping Centre on Sunday afternoon.
Police say that they received multiple calls regarding the sound of gunshots inside the mall at around 3:40 p.m.
Const. Alex Li says that officers responding to the scene then located a suspect with the assistance of mall security. The suspect led police on a brief foot pursuit but was apprehended a short time later as he attempted to run onto a Highway 401 on ramp outside the mall. A loaded firearm was recovered at that time.
At this point no victims have been located, though paramedics did transport an elderly woman to hospital with minor injuries related to a fall that took place amid the chaos.
“I want to reassure everybody that we’ve deployed every single resource that we have here. It is safe at this point in time…” Li said earlier on Sunday.
Second suspect remains outstanding
Yorkdale mall was placed under a lockdown in the wake of the shooting, leaving numerous shoppers trapped inside for hours.
Police began to escort some of those shoppers to safety early Saturday evening as they went from store to store as part of a coordinated sweep of the premises.
Speaking with reporters at the scene, Duty Inspector Andy Singh said that investigators believe that there were two individuals armed with firearms inside the mall.
But he said that it is unclear whether both of them discharged their weapons or just one.
No description of the second suspect has been released so far. Sing said investigators plan to provide more information once they have had a chance to review surveillance footage from the mall.
“When the initial incident happened it was quite chaotic, there was a lot of people running which is quite common with something like this. So we want to make sure we get it right,” he said.
‘Stampede’ after shots rang out
Video from inside mall on Sunday afternoon showed dozens of shoppers running to safety, including a number who ducked inside a store and others who hid in a service hallway.
CP24 also spoke with one shopper who described a “stampede” that resulted in an elderly woman being “trampled.”
One woman, who was inside the Hudson’s Bay department store at Yorkdale, told CP24 that she heard as many as five gunshots in quick succession.
She said that she rushed to the nearest exit upon hearing the gunfire but had to scramble after realizing that it was locked due to COVID-19 protocols.
She was eventually able to find her way outside by taking another exit.
“It was extreme chaos because you don’t know where the shots are, they sounded really close to where we were, almost in the same room,” the woman said.
The apparent shooting comes nearly three years to the day after gunfire last erupted inside Yorkdale mall.
That shooting, near a Starbucks, sent shoppers scrambling for cover but did not result in any physical injuries.
Police say that their investigation into Sunday’s gunfire is “ongoing.”
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