Two days following a violent random knife attack that sent three people to hospital, observers are praising mall security, police, EMS and bystanders over how the frightening incident at the Cornwall Centre in downtown Regina was handled.
"[There are] a bunch of heroes," Doug Kozak, general manager of the Cornwall Centre, told CBC News Thursday. "The citizens ... are heroes that helped each other. The police and our security staff are heroes in the job they did."
Kozak noted the security guards did exactly what they were supposed to in a crisis.
"I'm the proudest guy in the city of Regina," Kozak said. "They took the call. They ran towards the call. Sprinted."
Kozak said about 70 seconds elapsed from the time the emergency call was made to having the suspect subdued.
When asked if any changes would be made to security because of the incident, Kozak said the mall is constantly reviewing its operations and will be doing so again, but did not want to provide details on security arrangements.
"I think it's in our best interest to keep our security plans to ourselves," he said. "Obviously those with ill will would like to know what those plans are."
Response 'exceptional', deputy police chief says
Regina's deputy police chief, Bob Morin, echoed Kozak's remarks about how people responded to the crisis.
"I think the response of everybody at the scene was exceptional," Morin said. "It speaks to our community and the citizens in our community and our public safety network."
David Hyde, a security expert and consultant — who once worked at the Cornwall Centre — said the incident underscores the value of having police walking a traditional "beat".
"This incident shows why police need to dig their heels in areas that are dynamic like this, like downtown malls and downtowns in general," Hyde said. "There needs to be a police presence at hand doing these beat patrols."
Hyde added mall security plays an important role, that is often overlooked.
"Security staff across the country in malls save lives regularly," Hyde said. "[There are] first aid incidents, they reunite lost children and parents."
Mall security well-trained
Hyde added that security guards at malls are far more sophisticated than they are portrayed in some popular culture.
"They're trained in first aid, they're trained to respond to incidents," he said. "They're able to spot suspicious activity and bring police in when required. I think the bar is raised quite considerably. And it's my hope that the public gets to realize that."
The Cornwall Centre's Kozak said he has spent the last couple of days ensuring staff of the mall and merchants are comfortable with how things were handled. Otherwise, he said, it's business as usual.
"Most people [at the mall] understand the perspective that it was a random act," he said, noting the number of shoppers in the mall Thursday was around the normal level.