A couple from Strathmore is questioning security policies at a Calgary-area mall following a shooting on Monday night.
Belinda Derraugh and Lavern Thiessen were about to eat dinner at the food court at CrossIron Mills mall when they heard a terrifying cry.
“Some guy shouts out, ‘He’s got a gun!'” Derraugh said.
The couple said everyone started screaming and running out of the mall, unaware the shooting had actually happened outside in the parking lot.
Derraugh and Thiessen said they didn’t know exactly what was happening so they went looking for mall security.
“The security guy comes out and says, ‘What’s happening?'” Derraugh said. “So I said, ‘Well somebody’s got a gun.'”
She said the security guard then ran off. It’s unknown where he rushed off to.
The couple said they then encountered another security guard. They asked if they could leave and said he agreed they could, even though police would later ask everyone to stay put.
“They (security) did not know what to do. They hadn’t a clue what to do,” Derraugh said. “They were just as stunned as anybody else, and I think they should be more trained in this.”
Kelly Sundberg, a security researcher at Mount Royal University, agreed more training is needed.
He told Global News that Canada lags behind when it comes to private security at many public places.
“The research I conduct at the university looks at the need for more professionalized private security officers, better trained, better equipment, better standards, better licensing.”
Airdrie RCMP praised security staff for what they did do.
“I’d like to thank CrossIron Mills security in their assistance to us in collecting video surveillance and providing loudspeaker direction to the patrons that ensured everyone remained calm and safe,” Insp. Kimberley Pasloske said.
Derraugh and Thiessen said they never heard that page and expected more from mall security in a terrifying situation.
Global News reached out to CrossIron Mills mall administration. James Moller, the general manager for Alberta operations, issued a statement on the matter.
“The safety of our customers and tenants is of the utmost importance, and we take this isolated incident very seriously.”
Moller went on to say any questions pertaining to the investigation should be addressed to the authorities. He would not answer Global News’ questions about the actions of security officers.
Sundberg offered a piece of advice for anyone confronted with a dangerous situation.
“If there’s an active shooter, you need to either run, hide or if you don’t have any other option — fight.”