Burnaby RCMP investigating ‘swatting’ after Metrotown bomb and shooting scare

Click to play video: 'Metrotown Mall and SkyTrain station evacuated after reports of a shooting and a pipe bomb'
Metrotown Mall and SkyTrain station evacuated after reports of a shooting and a pipe bomb
Shoppers at Metrotown Mall were asked to leave immediately Friday afternoon after reports came in that shots had been fired in the mall. At the same time, Transit Police were investigating reports of a pipe bomb and had shut down the SkyTrain station. Video captured shows people running from the area. – Oct 1, 2021

Burnaby RCMP are investigating the source of the threat that prompted the evacuation and closure of the Metrotown mall and SkyTrain station Friday afternoon.

Officers said they believe it to be unfounded, but are trying to determine whether the incident was related to “swatting,” a criminal offense where fake emergency calls are made to provoke a large response from first responders.

“As we saw today, these unfounded reports prompt a large response from first responders, who must take these incidents seriously to protect the public,” said Cpl. Mike Kalanj.

RCMP and Metro Vancouver Transit Police were called to a potential report of a pipe bomb at the transit station and shots fired in the mall around 2:30 p.m.

About four hours later, Mounties said members of the Emergency Response Team were clearing the Metrotown area. Transit police had cleared the station around 4 p.m.

Story continues below advertisement

No threat was found inside the mall, and no injuries were reported.

The incident at the SkyTrain station was also determined to be unfounded.

“We understand this was a dynamic and distressing situation for the public and those in the area, with customers and staff taking shelter in stores in the mall, and others evacuating from the building” said Kalanj.

“We are thankful this isn’t a situation that is often faced in Canada, and are grateful this call was unfounded and nobody was hurt.”

Witness Kevin Schwantje said he was in the mall food court when pandemonium broke out.

“We heard yelling and I went to see what’s going on, and people were sprinting down the hallway away from like the central atrium area of the mall,” he said.

“A mall announcement came on and said, ‘Will you please evacuate the mall right now.’ We weren’t even sure where to go.”

RCMP helped evacuate the mall, then conducted a grid search of the premises.

Story continues below advertisement

The Metrotown SkyTrain station and bus loop were closed while police investigated and reopened around 6 p.m.

Meanwhile, Port Moody police were investigating an unfounded incident that happened at Seaview Elementary.

The detachment confirmed one person was arrested.

RCMP are working to determine if the incidents are linked and if the same suspect is responsible for both.

“We will be working closely with our policing partners, including Port Moody Police and Transit Police, on the investigation,” Kalanj said.

Click to play video: 'Metro Vancouver transit police not enforcing mask order until now'
Metro Vancouver transit police not enforcing mask order until now

Sponsored content