A 61-year-old man was critically injured during a violent robbery inside Southgate Centre Tuesday morning during business hours, Edmonton police and the mall confirmed.
The attack happened just before 10:30 a.m., about half an hour after the mall opened for the day.
Insp. Erik Johnson with the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) said video provided by mall security shows a suspect approaching a kiosk and stealing something before the victim came out of another store to intervene. As the suspect was leaving, a “pretty serious beating” occurred.
“He was acting like any other shopkeeper would to protect other people’s belongings,” Johnson said. “He was a good Samaritan who, unfortunately, got severely injured in this case.”
Two witnesses told Global News they saw a man lying on the ground in a pool of blood, being given CPR.
“They brought him back for a split second, but he went back under,” Richard Smith said. “EMS came and they couldn’t bring him back so they took him away.”
Johnson confirmed the man was taken to hospital in critical condition and would be going into surgery.
Southgate Centre General Manager Vivian Wagner said a couple of people tried to steal cash or a cash register from a kiosk in the mall. A man from a nearby business tried to intervene and was hurt during the violent altercation.
“We are deeply saddened by this incident,” a spokesperson for the mall said in a statement to Global News. “We are collaborating with the local authorities on the ongoing investigation.
“The security of our guests, our tenants and their employees is our number one priority. Our security team is trained with incident response procedures for these kinds of situations.”
Edmonton police said the victim worked at the mall in some capacity, but didn’t say where. Johnson said next of kin had been notified, but wanted to give them a chance to tell the rest of the family.
Wagner said the incident lasted about 30 to 40 seconds.
WATCH: An area inside Southgate Centre was blocked off after a man was seriously injured.
Later, the area was blocked off by police tape and a pop-up barrier was put up just outside the MAC Cosmetics store in the northwest section of the mall.
Several police officers were on scene, as well as an ambulance, and a hall was blocked off.
Edmonton police said the suspect fled the mall and, as of 1 p.m., remains on the run. Outside the mall, two other people in handcuffs were seen being put inside a police cruiser at around 11:30 a.m.
Johnson confirmed there were two men – who he said weren’t involved in the beating, but were present for the theft – who were taken into custody to be interviewed.
He added that even though the suspect got away, he’s confident police will find him.
“It’s definitely an adult male in his 20s,” Johnson said. “We have very good video of fleeing the door of the mall here. Obviously having his two cohorts being interviewed, I’m sure they’ll be comfortable in disclosing what his name is.
“I think it was supposed to be a theft that just turned into something way worse. They left the area, but not as quickly as the suspect did so we were able to get ahold of them.”
He couldn’t say for sure whether the suspect used a weapon.
The kiosk was new and hadn’t been staffed yet.
— More to come...
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