RCMP believe there is a connection between the Prairie Mall shooter and the man he shot Thursday evening. The victim has been airlifted to Edmonton with serious but non-life threatening injuries. Superintendent John Ferguson says there were also two bystanders who were injured.
“There was a couple that was with their children and both the male and female were grazed by the bullet. It was just one shot; I guess it went through the main victim and then upon exit ricocheted and grazed off the other two.”
An original statement by police indicated that only two people were injured and they apologize for the mistake.
The shooting reportedly followed an altercation between two groups of men, but police have not yet released a description of a suspect. It is believed to be a targeted attack.
“This was not random; we feel that there is a connection between the victim and the person that we have an interest in and believe committed the crime. In that sense, I don’t this there’s any fear that we have someone just sort of running around shooting at people.”
Mounties are working with the Prairie Mall to go through security footage and statements from the high number of witnesses in the busy shopping centre. Ferguson says these types of incidents don’t happen frequently in Grande Prairie and nothing like this has ever happened in the Prairie Mall.
“Now, unfortunately, firearms in today’s society, they’re there and those are calls that we do get called to, but putting it in to perspective, Grande Prairie is a safe community. Given what happened yesterday, it may be hard for people to accept that; I get that.”
The mall released a statement on the shooting this morning, confirming the incident.
“Grande Prairie RCMP were summoned and, together with our management and onsite security, decided to close the centre early to facilitate the investigation,” says Norguard Marketing Director Kristin Harding. “The health and safety of our visitors and staff is our highest priority. Our thoughts are with those who were injured or inconvenienced as the result of Thursday’s events.”
The mall has reopened for business as usual today.