Toronto police say they’re looking for multiple suspects after an altercation broke out inside a crowded Yorkdale Mall and shots were fired.
“There was an altercation between two groups of men. At some point, one of the individuals from one of the groups discharged a firearm at least twice,” Supt. Rob Johnson told reporters late Thursday afternoon.
Police said emergency crews were called to the north-end mall at around 2:50 p.m. with reports of the sounds of gunshots.
Johnson said the incident happened in the southeast corner of the mall near a café and the security office. He said two male suspects were last seen leaving an exit in the same part of the mall.
No one was hit by the gunfire, but Johnson said two people received minor injuries while exiting the mall.
“Anytime a firearm is discharged it’s problematic. Thankfully nobody was hit in this,” he said.
Johnson said Toronto police officers were able to respond quickly since the service has an office at the mall.
Witnesses described a chaotic scene inside the mall in the moments after the shots were fired.
“Originally we just thought it was a fire alarm testing. … Within five minutes they said it’s pretty serious. The doors are all being locked and that we had to kind of stay below the windows — so it was frightening,” Nella Stabropoulos said.
“There was people crying in there — vomiting, literally. I guess with what’s happening in the city, you just don’t know where you’re safe anymore.”
Mayor John Tory issued a written statement in response to the shooting, urging people with information to contact authorities.
“Whether it is Yorkdale Mall or anywhere else in Toronto, people should not have to worry about gun violence breaking out – at any time,” he said.
“There are too many guns available to criminals in the city and I am determined to end that with the help of our police and our government partners.”
Yorkdale Mall said in an update on Twitter that the mall will be closed for the rest of the day for the police investigation. It’s expected the mall will reopen on Friday.
The TTC suspended subway train service at Yorkdale station after the incident, but service resumed at around 6 p.m.
Anyone with information, or photos or videos from inside the mall, is being asked to call police at 416-808-3200.
— With files from Ryan Rocca