Saturday, 2 June 2012

Toronto Eaton Centre Mall Shooting

A gunman fired shots in a busy food court in one of Canada's busiest malls Saturday killing one man and injuring eight, police said.

Toronto police constable Victor Kwong said two people were in critical condition. He said the person who was killed died at the scene. Some of the injuries came when people were trampled on and pushed. He said the suspect had not been apprehended.

Witnesses said multiple shots were fired in the food court in Toronto's downtown Eaton Centre and that hundreds of panicked shoppers sprinted for the exits. The mall was evacuated.

Swarms of people watched from outside as an injured man with visible bullet wounds was wheeled out on a stretcher."All of a sudden a herd of people were just running toward us, a massive crowd of people screaming, running, freaking out," said Hannah Stewart, 21, who was shopping in the mall at the time. "We saw this girl, sitting on the ground, and she had blood on her toes."

That girl appeared to have been one of the victims and told Stewart she had just been shot.

At that point, police poured into the centre and began herding people outside.

"All these cops came running up and they started screaming at us to back off," Stewart said. "They were screaming at us to run and get out.”

Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie was also in the mall when the shooting took place and was one of the first to take to Twitter to break the news.

"Pretty sure someone just let off a round bullets in eaton center mall .. Wow just sprinted out of the mall," he tweeted. "People sprinting up the stairs right from where we just were ... Wow."This shooting was not only wanton and incredibly dangerous, but also reckless as to the safety of others," Blair said, adding that he does not know where the suspect might have fled.

Police are talking to witnesses and scouring video evidence of the shooting, which took place in the food court area. They were first alerted to the incident shortly before 6:30 p.m. ET.

"It's terrible when you hear something like this. My heart goes out to the families that have been affected by this terrible crime," said Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

A call to the mall confirmed that the shopping center was on lockdown. No other details were available.

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