Blue Jays player at mall when shots fired
Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie said Sunday that he
narrowly missed being in the area where a gunman fired shots in a
crowded food court in one of Canada’s busiest malls, killing a man
and injuring seven others.
Police said the shooting on Saturday at Eaton Centre in downtown
Toronto targeted one individual and there were a number of innocent
bystanders in what they think might be a gang related shooting.
Police said seven people were shot in all, including a 24-year-old
man who was killed in a hail of bullets and a 23-year-old man who
remains in critical condition.
Det. Sgt. Brian Borg said a 13-year-old boy who was visiting
Toronto and shopping with family members was shot in the head but
has been upgraded to stable, but critical condition. He said a
pregnant woman who went into labor after being trampled in the rush
to get out of the mall has not yet given birth. He said she is
Borg said they believe the dead man had gang affiliations. He
was known to police. Police think they know who the suspect is but
Borg declined to provide a name at this point. Borg said security
footage has been particularly helpful. He said there was one gunman
and no exchange of gunfire.
”I’m very confident we are going to make an arrest very soon,”
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said.
Police removed the shooting victim’s body early Sunday
Lawrie was one of the first to break the news on Twitter on
Saturday evening. He had gone to the mall with a friend shortly
after the Blue Jays lost to the Boston Red Sox in a Saturday
”Pretty sure someone just let off a round bullets in eaton
center mall … Wow just sprinted out of the mall … through
traffic,” Lawrie tweeted. ”People sprinting up the stairs right
from where we just were … Wow wow wow.”
He later tweeted that he was ”Rattled right now.”
On Sunday, Lawrie said he felt lucky because he left the food
court 10 seconds before the shooting.
”It was instant panic,” Lawrie said before Sunday’s game
against the Red Sox. ”It was as if you stepped on an ant hill and
then everyone just flooded out of the place. … I just got out of
there as fast as possible. I was the first person out of
Lawrie said he wanted to get the news out fast.
”I just thought I’d give it out there just to anybody that
could have been in the mall or anybody that needed to get there
ASAP, I thought I could give them a good piece of information,” he
Lawrie, a Canadian, said he never thought something like that
could happen at the Eaton Centre, a Toronto landmark that is
popular with tourists.
Toronto prides itself on being one of the safest cities in North
America. Many Canadians have long taken comfort in the peacefulness
of their communities and are nervous about anything that might
indicate they are moving closer to their American counterparts.
Marcus Neves-Polonio, 19, was working in the food court when he
saw a man pull out a gun and start firing. At least two people were
on the ground, he said. Erica Solmes, who manages the McDonald’s in
the mall’s food court, said she heard about 15 shots ring out
before a stampede of people made a dash for the exits.
”Any place for discharging a firearm in Toronto is dangerous.
In the food court of the Eaton Centre on a Saturday evening, it’s
not only dangerous, it’s outrageous,” the police chief Blair said.
”I believe every Torontonian is shocked and appalled by this
In 2005, a 15-year-old girl was killed during the Christmas
holidays just north of the mall in a shooting that shocked the city
during a year of record gun deaths in Toronto. In that case,
Toronto teen Jane Creba was shopping with family on busy Yonge
Street when she was caught in the crossfire of a shootout between
”Today harkens back to that terrible moment,” Toronto Police
Chief Bill Blair said. ”I am very sadly reminded of that. That was
one of the most tragic and shocking events that ever took place in
Officials said the mall and its parking garages will remain
closed Sunday while police continue the investigation.