1 in custody, 2nd suspect sought after shots fired inside Yorkdale Mall

One person is in custody and police are searching for a second person after shots were fired inside Yorkdale Mall on Sunday afternoon.

By BT Toronto

One person is in custody and police are searching for a second person after shots were fired inside Yorkdale Mall on Sunday afternoon.

Police say they were called to the popular north Toronto mall around 3:38 p.m. after receiving several calls about multiple shots being fired.

Police say with the help of mall security, officers identified a suspect and following a brief foot pursuit he was arrested on the Highway 401 on-ramp. Police say they also recovered a loaded firearm.

In a late afternoon update, investigators said they were looking for a second suspect in connection with the shooting, however, they did not provide a description at this time as they were still collecting information from eye-witnesses.

Police could not say if the two were shooting at each other but confirmed they are aware two people had firearms.

No injuries have been reported as a result of the shooting but paramedics did report some people suffered minor injuries in the commotion to get out of the mall as shots rang out.

“All of a sudden I heard ‘bang, bang, bang, bang, bang’ like at least five times,” Maria, who was inside the mall at the time of the shooting, tells CityNews. “And I said to myself, ‘Oh my god that’s a gun!’”

“Imagine everyone is walking, non-nonchalant shopping and all of sudden you hear three gunshots go off,” this eyewitness told CityNews. “Everyone ballistically running, falling, tripping. There was people getting trampled.”

Chase Malka, who was locked in the mall for several hours Sunday, recalled hearing the faint sound of gunshots in the mid-afternoon.

Staff then escorted Malka into the Footlocker.

“It was scary but the staff at the Footlocker were very nice and kept everything in control,” Malka said. “Overall everything was handled very well by the staff and the police.”

Chris Pryce, another shopper locked down, said he was at Hudson’s Bay when the shooter ran through and smashed through some glass trying to escape.

“It was unnerving when they told us to move away from the doors and to barricade ourselves … in the storeroom,” he said.

But given the circumstances, panic was relatively minimal, Pryce said.

“I was with an elderly cancer patient who had a panic attack and was crying but her family was there,” he said. “So it was OK that they had them for support.”

By the early evening, Pryce said he was fed up waiting to be let out, given that the suspect had already been arrested.

“This is getting a bit long in the tooth,” he said.

Police say the mall remains in lockdown but shoppers and staff who were trapped inside are being allowed to leave. However, anyone who may have left behind any property in the initial rush to get out of the mall will have to return on Monday to retrieve it.

A spokesperson for the mall says it will be closed for the rest of the day as police continue to investigate.

“Toronto Police Services (TPS) responded quickly and any questions must be directed to them as this an active investigation,” William Correia, Director, Yorkdale Shopping Centre said in a statement. “Yorkdale has excellent surveillance technology, and we are working closely with Toronto Police Services to support the investigation.”

The shooting comes almost two years to the day a similar incident took place at the mall. On that occasion, an altercation between two groups of men resulted in several shots being fired. No one was injured in that shooting. A 20-year-old man was charged with several offences.

Files from The Canadian Press were used in this report

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