LATEST UPDATE: Wednesday, Feb. 23 at 9:30 a.m. Eastern
- Ottawa police issued a statement on Feb. 23 that a 50-year-old Ottawa man has been charged with robbery and “several firearms related offences” in relation to the incident.
- Police said they had received calls about an armed man shortly after noon on Feb. 22 and that the man “brandished a firearm” after being confronted by the mall’s loss prevention officers.
- “The suspect fled on foot and was arrested a short distance away. There were no reported injuries,” said police in the statement.
However, the details of what prompted the operation remain unclear.
Ottawa police confirmed the end of the operation at 3:31 p.m. Eastern, following roughly three hours of heavy police presence at the mall for what police had described to Global News as an “active” call.
Ottawa paramedics had also told Global News they were on the scene assisting with a police investigation, but did not offer further details other than to say there are no injuries at that time.
Ottawa police in a tweet at 12:46 p.m. ET had urged the public to avoid the area of Dalhousie Street to the Rideau Canal, and the Mackenzie King Bridge due to a “police operation.”
The initial tweet was deleted because it may have contained information that was not yet confirmed, OPS Const. Paramjit Singh told Global News.
Ottawa resident Victor Avila told Global News that he arrived at the mall around 12:15 p.m. and five to 10 minutes later heard an alarm when he was shopping in Nordstrom, which is located at the south end of the mall near Mackenzie King Bridge.
“An alarm went off, not saying it’s an emergency, just saying the building needs to be evacuated, right now,” he said in a call.
When he emerged back onto Mackenzie King, he counted roughly 15 emergency vehicles — ambulances and police cruisers — on the scene.
On the other side of the mall around the same time, shopper Alice Clark said she was heading up an escalator near the H&M outlet when police rushed up another escalator behind her.
She told Global News in a direct message over Twitter that she hurried off into a nearby store, where an employee locked the door.
Tuesday marked the first day the Rideau Centre in downtown Ottawa reopening following a police operation to clear out the convoy blockade encamped in the core for more than three weeks.
— with files from Global’s Ahmar Khan
- Baby found with hypothermia outside Ontario home, mother passed out: police
- Alberta man comes face-to-face with gunman during Kingsway Mall crime spree
- 3 killed, suspect dead after shooting at Las Vegas university: police
- Alberta woman warns others after being scammed online over $1,500 Christmas tree