Toronto

Security staff honoured for quick actions during Yorkdale mall shooting

Five security staff people at Yorkdale Shopping Centre were honoured on Sunday for acting quickly in the face of danger during a shooting at the mall last summer.

4 guards showed teamwork, courage, while 1 officer showed initiative by providing intelligence

The Toronto Police Services Board and the Toronto Police Service gave community member awards to security staff at Yorkdale Shopping Centre for their quick actions during a shooting at the mall last summer. From left to right, here are four out of the five: Marco Rotondo, Nigel Penny, Shane Palmer and Luca Aiello. Jordell Wolseley is out of the country and his mother accepted the award on his behalf. (Myriam Eddahia/CBC )

Five security staff people at Yorkdale Shopping Centre were honoured on Sunday for acting quickly in the face of danger during a shooting at the mall last summer.

The Toronto Police Service Board and Toronto Police Service gave community member awards to four security guards, Nigel Penny, Shane Palmer, Luca Aiello and Jordell Wolseley, and to one security officer, Marco Rotondo. 

The guards were recognized for their bravery, while the officer was recognized for his initiative while operating the mall's video surveillance system.

According to the board and the police service, the awards recognize "unselfish assistance" given by members of the community to the police. The five are among 38 people given to community member awards on Sunday at a presentation at police headquarters.

Guards had suspect in custody in minutes

"For their teamwork and courage, the unarmed guards ran towards the gunfire as everyone else was fleeing from it," the board and police service said in their presentation notes.

The guards were recognized for their bravery, while the officer was recognized for his initiative while operating the mall's video surveillance system. (Mary Webster/CBC)

On August 30, 2018, a Toronto police officer on paid duty at the upscale mall noticed shoppers panicking, running out of the large building and shouting about gunfire inside the sprawling mall.

That officer informed a dispatcher about the shooting.

"Hundreds of shoppers were fleeing out of the mall and the scene was one of panic, hysteria and chaos," the board said.

"Not being familiar with the internal layout of the mall, the officer requested assistance of security guards. Within a few minutes security guards had a male in their custody."

Additional Toronto police officers arrived and the four guards helped the officers to search and clear stores to make sure employees and shoppers were safe.

Officer provided suspect descriptions to police

While the guards were in the mall helping officers, Rotondo provide descriptions to police of the last known direction of travel of suspects and a description of their getaway vehicle. 

On the day of the shooting, police taped off an entrance to Nordstrom. The security guards helped police to search and clear stores following the gunfire. (Paul Borkwood/CBC)

Rotondo also took calls from store tenants who had customers on their premises and were distressed. He told emergency responders about the situation and fielded calls from concerned shoppers about missing people.

As well, he ensured that articles left behind in the chaos were returned to their rightful owners who had been forced to leave.

Because of the descriptions he provided, officers were to arrest other suspects quickly.

No one was injured in the incident.

At the time, police said they believed that two groups of males had an altercation and that two shots were fired. A man was arrested outside of Trenton, Ont. and charged within a week of the shooting. 

'... the unarmed guards ran towards the gunfire as everyone else was fleeing from it,' the board and police service said in their presentation notes. (Paul Borkwood/CBC)