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2 people injured in northern Alberta shopping mall shooting

Click to play video 'RCMP investigating after single bullet injures 2 people in Grande Prairie mall shooting' RCMP investigating after single bullet injures 2 people in Grande Prairie mall shooting
WATCH ABOVE: Two people, including an innocent bystander, were taken to hospital after a shooting at a Grande Prairie shopping mall Thursday afternoon. Shallima Maharaj reports live from the northern Alberta city

The RCMP said it is investigating after two people, including an innocent bystander, were rushed to hospital after a shooting at a shopping mall in Grande Prairie Thursday afternoon.

“We heard shots fired. I didn’t think it could be a gunshot, like, come on, it’s Grande Prairie mall,” Elizabeth Austin, who works at mall, said.

According to police, a single shot was fired at the Prairie Mall at around 5 p.m. They said when officers arrived, they learned two groups of males had a fight in the mall and one man was shot and rushed to hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries.

UPDATE: 3 people injured in Thursday shooting at Grande Prairie mall 

Police said a female bystander was also hit with the same bullet and rushed to hospital with a non-life threatening injury.

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A paramedic escorts a woman away from the Prairie Mall in Grande Prairie, Alta. on Sept. 15, 2016.
A paramedic escorts a woman away from the Prairie Mall in Grande Prairie, Alta. on Sept. 15, 2016. CREDIT: William Vavrek Photography

“And then suddenly everyone just started running up the hallway, like, screaming,” explained Austin.

“Me and my coworker was like, looking and we were like ‘what’s going on?’ And then suddenly, like, more people started pushing everyone, running and people were falling and saying ‘shots were fired, there’s a gun.’ And then like, I was like, stunned.”

Mounties said the other males involved in the fight fled the mall and that as of 10:30 p.m., police had been unable to locate any of them despite an extensive search.

The inside of the Prairie Mall in Grande Prairie, Alta. on Sept. 15, 2016.
The inside of the Prairie Mall in Grande Prairie, Alta. on Sept. 15, 2016. CREDIT: William Vavrek Photography

Austin said she and her coworker grabbed their things and went to another store to hide. “We just hid in the back, closed the door, shut all the lights off,” she said. “We were anxious and we were shaking, and we were texting everybody telling ’em we were ok.”

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The RCMP said they believe the shooting was not random and that public safety is not at risk as a result of the shooting.

Police said they did not have a description of the person suspected of shooting the gun.

An RCMP officer is seen in the food court of the Prairie Mall in Grande Prairie, Alta. on Sept. 15, 2016. CREDIT: William Vavrek Photography
An RCMP officer is seen in the food court of the Prairie Mall in Grande Prairie, Alta. on Sept. 15, 2016. CREDIT: William Vavrek Photography. CREDIT: William Vavrek Photography

The Prairie Mall was put on lockdown and evacuated following the shooting. Austin said eventually they left their hiding place.

“As I was walking past the food court there was tapes everywhere. And I guess that’s where everything just went down.”

An RCMP presence is seen outside the Prairie Mall in Grande Prairie, Alta. The shopping centre was evacuated Thursday because of an “incident” according to a mall representative.
An RCMP presence is seen outside the Prairie Mall in Grande Prairie, Alta. The shopping centre was evacuated Thursday because of an “incident” according to a mall representative. COURTESY: Micah Claxton

Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact the Grande Prairie RCMP detachment at 780-830-5701 or your local police detachment. Tips can also be anonymously submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) online.

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