Two groups exchanged gunfire outside West Edmonton Mall; vehicle, gun recovered

Police say they’re still looking for the suspects in one of the vehicles involved in a shooting at West Edmonton Mall Monday night, that sent shoppers into a panic as the mall was locked down.

By News Staff

Police say the still unidentified suspects involved in the West Edmonton Mall shooting waited in the parking lot for four individuals to emerge from the mall before an exchange of gunfire took place between both groups.

BACKGROUND: West Edmonton Mall shooting: 3 seriously injured

That’s the latest information provided by the Edmonton Police Service on the shooting that locked down one of the largest malls in North America for two hours Monday night.

Investigators believe four individuals parked their sedan and entered the mall for about 40 minutes. Upon exiting, suspects in a white SUV – which police believe they have recovered – allegedly pulled up.

Police say that’s when the targeted shooting, believed to have taken place entirely outside the mall, began.

Two of the targeted men ran into the mall, according to police – one into the Wild West shooting range and another through the mall. Police say they have not yet found the man who ran through the mall.

“It’s way too early to say that this is an ongoing feud or violence that’s going to continue,” said EPS Acting Chief Darren Derko at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. “It’s always concerning when something to this level happens when they’re targeted. Because the fear is that retribution is going to happen. But that’s something that we’re working on and hopefully we can make some arrests before that happens.”

Three victims were taken to hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

A handgun was recovered inside the mall, police say.

Edmonton police have not identified the groups involved, nor are they clear on the motivations behind the shooting.

Police say the lockdown was ordered for the safety of shoppers and staff.

Derko thanked the West Edmonton Mall security team, who assisted with the lockdown and whose surveillance footage allowed police to track the situation.

For some shoppers like Usman Shahid, who entered the mall with his family — alarm bells started ringing and people originally thought it was a joke or drill at first. Quickly they realized it was real through social media.

“I think after about 30 minutes of the lockdown — about 8:30-8:40 — I think everybody including myself started getting nervous, because something was happening and we didn’t know. I didn’t hear anything any gunshots. All we could know was news coming from outside, people were calling each other.”

The mall says on its website it that conducts lockdown drills four times a year to prepare for emergencies.

Shahid says he and his family are still shocked after spending nearly two hours locked in a store with around 30 other people.

“I’ve lived in different parts of the world, this is the first time something like this happened to us. It was hard to believe for the first 15 minutes. I didn’t believe what was happening,” said Shahid.

Derko also expressed concern about the sharing of real-time information and misinformation about the shooting.

The EPS acting chief says social media videos of officers clearing the mall could have put officers at risk. He also says false information about an active police situation can create “a lot of panic.”

Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi encouraged anyone who was impacted by the shooting and lockdown to reach out for support if they need it, calling the incident a “senseless act of violence.”

“I know this event must have been traumatizing for everyone at the mall,” the mayor tweeted. “I am incredibly grateful that no one lost their life in this incident thanks to the quick action of our @edmontonpolice officers, EMS paramedics and @Official_WEM security. My thoughts are with the victims of this attack and I wish them a speedy recovery.

“If you were impacted by this situation and need support, please reach out to @CMHAEdmonton at 780-482-HELP (4357).”

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