Police ID alleged Yorkdale Mall shooter
Kayla Goodfield and Rachael D'Amore, CP24.com
Published Friday, August 31, 2018 6:45AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, September 1, 2018 6:09AM EDT
Investigators have identified a 20-year-old man accused of firing shots from a handgun inside a crowded Yorkdale Mall on Thursday afternoon.
It was just before 3 p.m. on Thursday when two gunshots were fired near a Starbucks on the southeast side of the mall. The noise shocked shoppers, many of whom ran or ducked for cover.
Two people suffered minor injuries while fleeing the scene but no serious injuries were reported.
Police kept the mall on lockdown for the remainder of the day. Police at the time said the shots were fired after a confrontation between two groups containing at least three individuals each.
A witness told CP24 he saw a short man draw a handgun after yelling “hey” at a larger man with an athletic build.
The target of the shooting ran away as the two gunshots were fired.
On Friday, police identified the alleged shooter as 20-year-old Zion Sankar-Beharry of Toronto.
He is wanted on a warrant for one count of discharge a firearm with intent to wound.
Investigators say he was last seen at 5 p.m. in the Warden Avenue and Steeles Avenue East area of Scarborough.
Police say he should be considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached if spotted.
Anyone with information is asked to call 32 Division at 416-808-3200.
Police kept the mall on lockdown for the remainder of Thursday. Store employees and managers were later permitted to reenter the building to collect belongings and lock up stores. The shopping centre reopened to the public at 10 a.m. on Friday morning.
As gunfire erupted, shoppers took to social media to recount what they saw and heard.
One Twitter user wrote that he was locked inside a Rolex store with other shoppers while they awaited an all-clear from police. Others expressed disbelief about the sound of the shots, saying it wasn’t until they saw people running did they realize the gravity of the situation.
“Everybody started to run,” one woman said at the time, her voice choked with emotion. “They said, ‘It’s a shooting! It’s a shooting!’ So we hid.”
“I heard a second big bang and at that point everybody started scrambling,” another shopper said.
“They were running for their lives. It was chaotic. At that point I knew something was definitely up.”
Police say they continue to investigate and are reviewing surveillance video from the mall’s advanced network of security cameras.
A surveillance camera image was released to the public on Friday evening.
Yorkdale Shopping Center is now asking anyone who left their belongings behind during the commotion to contact their security desk today to retrieve them.
“Overall I think that Toronto is a safe community,” one shopper said. “Like with the Danforth, we all rallied together and we said that this isn’t us… Well, this is not us either.”