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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Shooting At Toronto's Eaton Centre , June 2, 2012 (PHOTOS)

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TORONTO - A shooting that sparked mass panic at Toronto's Eaton Centre killed one person Saturday and injured seven others.

Police had few details to share about the incident that took place just before 6:30 p.m. in the mall's newly renovated food court, but were able to confirm the shooter still remained at large.

"At this time we do not have the shooter," said Const. Victor Kwong. "We have eight victims of varying severities, one of which was pronounced dead on the scene."

Of the surviving seven victims, Kwong said two were in critical condition and one had life-threatening injuries.
Some of the other victims were injured not by the gun shots, but as a result of the mass exodus that took place as the mall was evacuated, Kwong said.

Police are now going through video surveillance and cross referencing witness statements as they try to pull together a clear picture of the shooting and the person who was holding the gun.

Marcus Neves-Polonio, 19, was working in the food court when he saw a man pull out a gun and start firing.
"It was unbelievable ... It was out of the blue," he said as he stood outside the centre. "As soon as I heard the gunshots, I ducked under the table."

Erica Solmes, who manages the McDonald's in the mall's foodcourt, didn't see the shooter, but witnessed the chaos he triggered.

"There was probably 15 bullet shots and then a whole stampede of people," she said.

Shoppers who were already in stores were herded to the back as businesses went into lockout. The majority of those walking through the mall, however, made a mad dash for the first available exit.

"All of a sudden a herd of people were just running toward us, a massive crowd of people screaming, running, freaking out," said Hannah Stewart, 21, who was shopping in the mall at the time. "We saw this girl, sitting on the ground, and she had blood on her toes."

That girl appeared to have been one of the victims and told Stewart she had just been shot.

At that point, police poured into the centre and began herding people outside.

"All these cops came running up and they started screaming at us to back off," Stewart said. "They were screaming at us to run and get out.”

Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie was also in the mall when the shooting took place and was one of the first to take to Twitter to break the news.

"Pretty sure someone just let off a round bullets in eaton center mall .. Wow just sprinted out of the mall," he tweeted. "People sprinting up the stairs right from where we just were ... Wow wow wow."

The area around what's called the largest shopping mall in the downtown core was quickly blocked off after the shooting and centre itself was evacuated and closed down.

There were at least a dozen police cars at one corner of the Eaton's Centre and at least five ambulances were heading to the scene. Yellow police tape marked a perimeter outside the centre, shutting off portions of some downtown streets.
 
A portion of the Yonge subway line, which services the mall, was also temporarily shut down.

Police spent much of Saturday evening trying to clear out thousands of people who were milling around outside the centre, mostly trying to figure out what happened.

It's not the first time the area has seen gunfire.

In 2005, a 15-year-old woman was killed and six others were wounded on Boxing Day, 2005 when shots rang out just north of the shopping centre.

source & image credit : http://www.huffingtonpost.ca

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