LaSalle man recalls fleeing Toronto mall after gunfire

·2 min read
Toronto police have arrested one suspect and have seized a firearm.  (Mark Bochsler / CBC - image credit)
Toronto police have arrested one suspect and have seized a firearm. (Mark Bochsler / CBC - image credit)

A LaSalle man was among those caught up in the panic at Toronto's Yorkdale Mall after shots rang out Sunday afternoon.

Zain Ismail had stopped at the mall for lunch with a friend on his way back from a vacation in Prince Edward County.

He described the confusion on CBC Radio's Windsor Morning on Tuesday.

Ismail didn't witness or hear the gunfire itself, but saw crowds running. At first, he said, he didn't know what he was fleeing from but checked Twitter and saw reports of a shooting.

"The very first few minutes, it was confusing because we had no idea what was happening, like why people are running."

Mark Bochsler / CBC
Mark Bochsler / CBC

He and a group of about 10 or 15 others made their way to safety after entering an employees-only door that led them to a service corridor. They followed some evacuation signs and eventually ended up out of the mall, just as police arrived.

According to Toronto police, at about 3:38 p.m. on Sunday, police received reports of "multiple gunshots heard" in the area.

"Crowds were seen screaming and fleeing," Const. Alex Li told reporters at the scene, describing the initial reports.

No one was hurt in the gunfire, according to police, but a gun and ammunition were recovered. A suspect was arrested after a brief pursuit and police are seeking a second suspect.

On Monday, police announced a 21-year-old Toronto man has been charged with several firearms charges, and three counts of assault.

As for Ismail, he said the experience started to hit him a few hours later.

"Even as I reflect now on it, I don't think I'll go into a shopping mall or ... a massive public sporting event or anything without having a conversation with myself on how I'm going to get out of here if something crazy happens," he said.

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