RCMP say they're searching for a gunman and his accomplice after a shooting at CrossIron Mills mall in Balzac, just outside Calgary, that sent one man to hospital.
Police and RCMP received reports of a shooting at the mall shortly after 7 p.m. MT Monday. Multiple officers, including a tactical team and canine unit, responded.
Officers found a man in a restaurant who had been shot. He was taken to a Calgary hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. There were no other injuries.
The shooting took place in the parking lot outside the mall's food court, said Insp. Kimberley Pasloske at a news conference on Tuesday.
Police cordoned off the mall and asked shoppers and workers inside to shelter in place as they searched for a gunman.
"It was several hours before all civilians were evacuated safely," said Pasloske. The mall was finally cleared by about 1 a.m.
Approximately 600 employees and several thousand patrons were removed from the mall.
The gunman, believed to be a white male, was dressed all in black and wore a black baseball cap and a hoodie, she said.
He left the mall with an accomplice in a four-door black 2019 Dodge Ram pickup truck. There was no description of the accomplice.
It's believed the shooting was targeted. Pasloske said because the investigation is in its early stages, she was unable to speak to whether the shooting might have been gang-related, whether the victim is known to police or if he is co-operating.
She said investigators are carefully examining all of the available video surveillance, and anyone who might have taken cellphone video is asked to contact RCMP.
Witness heard yelling
Troy Schafer, 17, said he heard yelling coming from the Milestones restaurant in the mall.
"There was a few bangs and then I looked over and there was someone laying on the ground," he said. "We came outside for a little bit and went back in and EMS was going to pick him up."
Schafer said that while no announcement was made over the intercom, police officers told shoppers to exit the premises.
Kendall Beleshko was outside the mall at the time of the shooting.
"I wasn't completely paying attention. I was looking at my phone as most people do, and I suddenly heard all this screaming and saw several dozen people running out of the mall," he said. "They were screaming and running to their cars and I panicked, and got into my vehicle as well."
Kelly Sundberg, a criminologist at Mount Royal University, said it's terrifying to think of a shooting at a crowded and busy mall like CrossIron.
"It's not the first shooting we've had in public in Calgary, we've had our fair share. A targeted attack would indicate organized crime, or crime groups of some sort," he said. "It's unfortunate this is the reality of large cities in society today."
Sundberg said he was pleased, however, to see an effective and organized response by Calgary police and the Alberta RCMP.
"I think Calgarians can feel comfort in knowing our police here in Calgary and RCMP are working so closely together and were able to respond quickly," he said. "Nonetheless, it's understandable that Calgarians are concerned."
Sundberg said the incident would likely have a significant impact on shoppers and employees.
Airdrie and District Victims Assistance is offering support for anyone who was impacted by the incident. The agency can be reached at 403-945-7290.
The mall reopened as usual on Tuesday.