Toronto

Toronto man, 21, facing charges after gunfire at Yorkdale Mall

A 21-year-old Toronto man is facing multiple charges following a shooting in Yorkdale Mall on Sunday afternoon. Police are still looking for a second suspect involved.

Mall was placed on lockdown as Toronto police investigated

Toronto police's emergency task force is investigating a shooting at Yorkdale Mall that occurred just before 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. (Mark Bochsler/CBC)

Toronto police have arrested and charged a man after gunfire was reported inside Yorkdale Mall on Sunday afternoon.

There were no reports of injuries resulting from the shooting, Const. Alex Li told members of the media at the scene. Police said a loaded Glock-19 firearm and ammunition has been recovered and the mall, located at Allen Road and Highway 401, was placed on lockdown. 

Duty Inspector Andy Singh said a male suspect is in custody while police are looking for another suspect who was involved.

Police announced Monday they have charged a 21-year-old Toronto man with a host of firearms charges, and three counts of assault.

At approximately 3:38 p.m. on Sunday, police received reports of "multiple gunshots heard" in the area, Const. Alex Li told reporters at the scene.

"Crowds were seen screaming and fleeing," Li said of the initial reports.

He called it an "ongoing and active" scene, but assured that it is safe.

"When our officers arrived they located a suspect with the assistance of mall security," Li said. "After a brief pursuit, the individual has been arrested and a loaded firearm has been recovered."

Duty Inspector Andy Singh provided an update at a media briefing outside of Yorkdale Mall hours after a shooting that prompted crowds to stampede out of the mall. (Mark Bochsler / CBC)

One suspect arrested, police looking for second suspect

The male suspect who was arrested was chased on foot by officers as he attempted to flee by running onto the nearby Hwy. 401 ramp.

Police are reviewing surveillance footage to get a suspect description of the second individual involved. 

"There were two people that had firearms on them," Singh said. He added there were "numerous shots" fired.

Paramedics were on scene attending to anyone injured in the process of exiting the mall as eyewitnesses reported crowds stampeding out.

Toronto police are reassuring the public that it deployed all available resources. The emergency task force was also at the scene.

Toronto police have arrested one suspect involved in the shooting and have seized a firearm. Officers are performing a sweep of the mall and the investigation is ongoing. (Mark Bochsler / CBC)

Witnesses recall a 'stampede' as people ran out of the mall

Danielle Ricci-Tiqui and her daughter Isabella Tiqui were at Urban Outfitters when Isabella heard gunshots.

"We were just shopping and I heard one gunshot, all of the sudden crowds of people were screaming and we were crouching down and running out of the mall," Isabella said.

"My heart jumped out," Danielle said. "Our family is in the mall and they're telling us there are 40 people with them."

Danielle recalls the shooting took place between The Cheesecake Factory and The Bay.

The mother and daughter also saw crowds "stampede" out of the mall, including one elderly woman who was "trampled," they said.

"It's really sad," Danielle said. "This is Toronto, we think of our city as being very safe, but unfortunately it's becoming questionable now."

The investigation is ongoing. Police carried out a sweep inside the mall while it was under lockdown.

The mall remained closed for the rest of the day as Toronto police's forensic unit examined the scene.

Police were letting patrons leave the mall "methodically," Singh said, so that people don't walk through the crime scene.

The mall designated the Indigo entrance as a meeting point where patrons can speak to police officers if they're missing a loved one or have left property at the mall.

Patrons who've left property at the mall will be able to recover it on Monday, police said.

There have been three shootings at Yorkdale Mall in the last 13 years, one on August 30, 2018, one on March 30, 2013 and a third on April 9, 2009. 

In 2018, no one was injured. Police said two groups of men in the mall had an altercation that led to one man firing a gun at least twice. The shooting caused shoppers and store employees to panic and scramble for cover, with hundreds rushing out of the large sprawling building. A 20-year-old man was arrested and charged with several offences in the shooting.

In 2013, one man was killed and another man was injured in what police described at the time as an ambush and a shooting that was believed to be gang-related. This shooting happened in a mall parking lot.

In 2009, a security guard wearing a bulletproof vest was shot in the chest and injured. Police said mall security guards were attempting to arrest two robbery suspects when the shooting occurred in an area that connects to the Yorkdale subway stop.

Toronto police are asking anyone who may have witnessed the shooting on Sunday afternoon to contact them.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ali Raza is a journalist at CBC News Toronto and CBC Radio. Born and raised in Brampton, Ontario, Ali has worked in community newsrooms across the Greater Toronto Area covering politics, crime, breaking news, and more. Have a news tip? Send it over to ali.raza@cbc.ca

With files from Muriel Draaisma

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