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Pepper spray attack at the Quinte Mall leads to evacuation

By Katie Perry [1]

BELLEVILLE – An employee at the Quinte Mall [2] says a pepper spray attack early Monday night made for a scary few minutes.

“I was terrified because I had no idea what was going on,” Kali Hart said. Hart is an employee at the Ardene store in the mall. She left through the doors close to Shoppers Drug Mart. “They didn’t tell us what was going on, but then we saw ambulances coming,”

Police say the incident began after a man entered the mall and pepper-sprayed another man inside the mall close to SportCheck.

The incident halted sales and caused workers and shoppers to evacuate the shopping centre around 7:30 p.m.

“We had a security guard come into our store, at Ardene, and tell us that we had to get out, that it was an evacuation,” said Hart.

Hart says after the mall was cleared, the action continued outside.

“There was a man there who looked like he had been pepper sprayed. He had his shirt off and you could tell he was in distress. He also had water bottles pouring into his eyes,” she said.

Those hit by the spray, including a six-week-old infant were then treated by paramedics at the mall. Two others were treated at Belleville General Hospital [3] and later released said the police.

Hart, and the other mall employees and shoppers were waiting outside, she said. “A security guard went around and asked those who evacuated if they had been exposed to the spray,” said Hart. “Everybody else seemed to be okay.”

According to Belleville Police [4], there were no serious injuries.

A shopper at the mall told QNet News via Twitter that she and her husband experienced mild symptoms for a couple hours as a result of the incident.

One of the ambulances left, and then a firetruck came to the mall according to Hart. “The firemen went in with gas masks,” she said “then they had giant fans go in to air the mall out.

“Around 8 p.m. a person from guest services came up to the crowd and told anyone who is a shopper to go home, they weren’t going to re-open the mall. They said that it was going to be a while before the fire department would give the okay to go back in.” The employees stayed behind waiting for the opportunity to close the stores said Hart.

“It was about 8:40 p.m. when guest services came to us again and said we were allowed to go in, we just had to close our stores and then we had to leave.”

Police are looking for a white man between the ages of 25 and 35 wearing a ball cap, white sleeveless shirt, shorts and flip flops.

Anyone with information on the identity of the suspect is asked to call Belleville Police at 613-966-0882.

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