CTV News Montreal Digital Reporter
Black Friday shopping turned into chaos tonight at Galeries d’Anjou, east Montreal, after one or more canisters containing what police called « irritating gas » were opened during a fight.
People ran to the exit before they were officially evacuated, said a clerk at the mall – it was initially unclear what was happening and rumors spread that someone had a gun.
« We were all scared because we didn’t even know what was going on, » said Megan Raimondo, 18, who was working for the Winners in the mall just before 7pm when the incident started. m.
« The winners are right next to the mall exit so we could see people running to get out, » she said.
« It was really chaotic outside – there were a lot of cars, a lot of exits were blocked, people were trying to figure out how to get out of the mall. «
Police told CTV News about an hour later that two groups at the mall had « got into an argument ».
Evacuation in the Galeries d’Anjou: An irritating gas would have been used during a possible conflict between people. No injuries were reported. The @MTL_SIM works together with the #SPVM.
Montreal police spokesman Raphael Bergeron said one of the people involved in the fight released a type of noxious gas that resembles tear gas.
Bergeron said he didn’t yet know exactly what the substance was or how much of it was released.
Raimondo said that with Black Friday sales, « it was pretty full today » at Galeries d’Anjou, under the distancing rules.
Her store, for example, has a capacity of 150 people and it was full, she said, with shoppers queuing (by a distance) in the corridors of the mall to get to various stores. The mall was supposed to close at 9 p.m.. m. This evening.
Before alerting police or mall security to the danger, shoppers warned others that someone might have a gun in the mall, Raimondo said – the first time she heard about it came from two different customers in the store.
Elsewhere in the mall, in different places and from different angles, the employees later compared the notes. One report Raimondo heard from a friend who worked on the other end of the mall was that a can of pepper spray accidentally fell during a fight, she said.
This other employee said that « two people were fighting and they dropped a bottle of pepper spray and it sounded like a gun when it fell so everyone freaked out, » she said.
She said she did not feel the effects of the gas and did not know of anyone who reported feeling the effects.
Police arrived along with firefighters who had to « clean the air, » Bergeron said. There are no suspects yet.
Montreal, CF Galeries d’Anjou
World News – CA – Black Friday shoppers have been evacuated from the Montreal mall after a battle with tear gas-like substance
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