Police say an imitation firearm was recovered after the Woodgrove Centre was locked down and evacuated on Monday evening.
At around 5:20 p.m., police received a call of a male youth with a gun at the Woodgrove Centre in Nanaimo. Police said it was reported through mall security that a youth had allegedly pulled out a handgun from his waistband while in the mall. His intentions were not clear and his exact location was not known.
Police immediately responded. The mall was locked down. Due to the call involving a gun, police responded with a carbine ( long-gun firearm) and body armour.
After getting a description and identity of the young man, police began to search for him. He had last been seen in the Avalon Theatre area.
The Emergency Response Team and the Police Dog Service also assisted. The mall was also evacuated. Police said this was done to ensure the safety of mall patrons and store employees while attempting to locate the individual.
The young man was found at around 6:30 p.m. at an alternate, undisclosed location. Police also recovered an imitation firearm.
At around 7 p.m., the mall and attached stores were allowed to reopen. The shopping centre already closes at 6 p.m. on Mondays.
The buses that were stopped at the mall during the lockdown and evacuation were allowed to resume their routes at around 7 p.m.
“This was a dynamic scene, that was handled in a calm manner by everyone involved. This is what we train for. Thankfully in this incident, the suspect was apprehended, with no harm to the public or anyone involved,” Sgt. Jon Stuart, media relations officer with Nanaimo RCMP, said in a statement.
“We would like to recognize the support and assistance played by mall security, the store employees, RDN Transit, and the public in general.”
The young man was held in custody and was set to appear in court Tuesday morning. His name cannot be released under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The allegations against him include possession of an imitation weapon.