Emergency crews were at Willowbrook Shopping Centre Wednesday, July 13, 2022, for reports of noxious spray being set off inside. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Emergency crews were at Willowbrook Shopping Centre Wednesday, July 13, 2022, for reports of noxious spray being set off inside. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Three people pepper sprayed in Langley’s Willowbrook Mall, building evacuated

Store employee told the Langley Advance Times that the mall was evacuated.

Two or three people were hit with pepper spray or bear spray at the Willowbrook Shopping Centre on Wednesday afternoon, leading to the evacuation of the mall.

According to the Langley RCMP, there was an argument between youths in the mall near the Foot Locker store which ended with a young woman spraying two other people and fleeing the mall.

“The parties involved are known to each other and police believe this to be a targeted incident,” said an RCMP statement by Sgt. Rebecca Parslow.

Local firefighters helped victims of the bear spray, which also impacted people in the area around the attack, according to Langley City Fire Chief Scott Kennedy.

“There was probably about another half dozen around them that were affected,” Kennedy said, and a further dozen who felt more minor impacts.

While Langley City firefighters and BC Ambulance helped treat the people who had been sprayed, Langley Township firefighters were dealing with an unrelated medical emergency on the other side of the mall. Because the mall sits in both City and Township, both crews often respond to major incidents there.

A number of people were hit with the spray. Some people who were at the mall have taken to social media saying was it bear mace. Kennedy said fortunately no one who was hit with the spray was badly harmed enough to need hospitalization. They were all given medical treatment on the scene and released.

At least two people were seen speaking to police, both of whom were wearing white disposable overalls and carrying their clothes in plastic bags. People who’ve been sprayed typically have to strip off their contaminated clothes.

The Langley Advance Times has reached out to the Langley RCMP for information on whether a suspect in the case is being sought.

A store employee said the mall was evacuated between 2 p.m. and 2:20 p.m., with some stores evacuated sooner than others. The public and workers were allowed to head back in about 2:45 p.m.

Between 2 and 3 p.m., workers and shoppers had to sit outside the mall. Mall staff at some entrances were keeping the doors open to help ventilate the building.

The Langley RCMP have asked anyone with information about the incident to call them at 604-532-3200.

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Have a story tip? Email: heather.colpitts@langleyadvancetimes.com

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