TORONTO — One suspect is in custody and police are searching for a second after a shooting at a prominent mall in Toronto on Sunday afternoon.
City police say gunfire broke out at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre at about 3:30 p.m., sending the building into lockdown.
Police say nobody was injured in the shooting.
They say when officers arrived on the scene, mall security staff were able to point them in the direction of a male suspect who was running away.
Duty Insp. Andy Singh says officers chased the suspect and caught up to him on the nearby highway ramp, finding a loaded firearm on him when they did.
Police are still searching for a second male, but Singh didn't provide details about how the two suspects are linked.
There's no word on what charges the suspects may face.
Witnesses reported chaos in parts of the mall shortly after hearing shots ring out inside the mall.
"I turn around and I just see like people running, and crowds running. Everyone was panicking, people were crying and screaming and I'm like, oh my goodness," said Yasmine Washington, who was in EB Games at the time. "A store clerk was like, 'everyone go to the back and crouch down.'"
Washington, her brother and a couple dozen other shoppers at the store were sent behind the cash register before being hurried out of the mall through the back entrance.
They emerged into the parking lot to find police everywhere, she added.
"At one point I looked over at my brother after we were out, and he just broke down and started crying," Washington said.
"A lot of children were around me, and they were so scared. I saw a lot of tears."
Chase Malka, who was locked in the mall for several hours Sunday, recalled hearing the faint sound of gunshots in the mid-afternoon before staff escorted him and his mother into a shoe store.
"It was scary but the staff at the Footlocker were very nice and kept everything in control," Malka said. "Overall everything was handled very well by the staff and the police."
Some witnesses said they had been escorted out of the mall by early Sunday evening, but others were stuck inside.
Chris Pryce, another shopper locked down, said he was at Hudson's Bay when the shooter ran through and smashed through some glass trying to escape.
"It was unnerving when they told us to move away from the doors and to barricade ourselves ... in the storeroom," he said.
But given the circumstances, panic was relatively minimal, Pryce said.
"I was with an elderly cancer patient who had a panic attack and was crying but her family was there," he said. "So it was OK that they had them for support."
By the early evening, Pryce said he was fed up waiting to be let out, given that the suspect had already been arrested.
"This is getting a bit long in the tooth," he said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 29, 2021.
Rhythm Sachdeva and Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press