Three people, including two innocent bystanders, were rushed to hospital Thursday afternoon after a shooting at a shopping mall in Grande Prairie.
“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 food court of the mall and one man was shot. He was flown to a hospital in Edmonton with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
“When I went to the food court, there was a guy laying there, blood all over the ground, with a bullet hole in his leg,” Cole Belcourt, who manages a clothing store in the mall, said. “It must have hit an artery because I’ve never seen so much blood in one spot before. I did an EMR course – I’ve been an EMR for a year-and-a-half.”
Police said the single bullet also grazed a couple who were walking by with their young children.
The man and woman were taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. RCMP initially said a total of two people were injured in the shooting.
The Prairie Mall was put on lockdown and evacuated following the shooting.
RCMP believe the shooter and the initial victim knew each other.
“This was not random,” RCMP Supt. John Ferguson said. “We feel that there was a connection between the victim and the person … we believe did this.”
Officers now have surveillance video in their possession but aren’t releasing a suspect description at this time.
Mounties said the other males involved in the fight ran away and that as of 10:30 p.m., police had been unable to locate any of them despite an extensive search. As of Friday, RCMP had a person of interest but no arrests had been made.
The RCMP said public safety is not at risk as a result of the shooting.
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.