Three men were injured in a shooting Monday night at West Edmonton Mall, where those inside were locked down in stores and restaurants for two hours.
Police said in a news release that the men were taken to hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries.
They said it’s believed the shooting was targeted and that the shooter and victims are known each other. There was no word on an arrest.
The lockdown was ordered for the safety of shoppers and staff, police added.
Vanessa Lewis said she was at Earl’s restaurant when the lockdown was announced.
“It was very nerve-racking,” she said. “Everyone was moved to the back of the restaurant.”
She said she had just placed her order, then waited with everyone else for two hours. She didn’t get her food.
“It’s OK. I’m happy. We’re safe,” she said as she later left the mall.
An employee at the G-Star Raw clothing store said staff sheltered in a storage room waiting for word that it was safe to leave. Another woman said she spent her time in lockdown in an Indigo book store.
“Members of the (Edmonton Police Service) Tactical Unit responded and systematically cleared the facility to ensure it was safe prior to the lockdown being lifted,” said the police release.
It said the shooting happened in Phase 3 of the mall and it would not be accessible during the police investigation.
The area is in the western half of the shopping centre and is home to a massive water park and the Marine Life aquarium, as well as large tenants Simons and London Drugs.
The mall, one of the largest in North America and a major tourist attraction, says on its website it that conducts lockdown drills four times a year to prepare for emergencies.
It tightened security in 2015 after it was named a potential target in a video attributed to al-Qaida-linked terrorist group al-Shabab.
The mall has more than 800 stores, 100 restaurants, an amusement park, a shooting range, a skating rink and a pirate ship. It sees about 30 million visitors a year.
Bob Weber, The Canadian Press
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 21, 2023.