Sunridge Mall evacuated after smoke, pepper spray from jewelry store robbery spreads through ventilation

Sunridge Mall was evacuated Saturday afternoon after pepper spray from a jewelry store robbery spread through the mall’s ventilation system.

Police responded to the mall around 1:30 p.m. after a report that pepper spray had been deployed during a robbery.

The northeast Calgary mall was evacuated as a precaution after the pepper spray spread through the mall’s ventilation, police said. 

Paramedics and firefighters were on scene assisting with the evacuation and decontamination, police said.

An EMS spokesperson said five adults were assessed for “indirect contact with an unknown substance” at the mall.

Four were treated on scene, but one man was transported to hospital in stable, non-life-threatening condition.

Smoke bomb was thrown, witness says

Daniel Hurstfield had just finished having his hair cut, and was walking north toward the centre of the mall when a canister hit the ground about 10 metres in front of him. It cracked open, and black smoke billowed out from the can, he said. 

“Once that happened it took two or three seconds for me to react … I looked to my side and a lady from Bath & Body Works had already assessed the situation and flagged me in,” Hurstfield said.

Daniel Hurstfield shared this photo of the smoke canister, as seen from inside Bath & Body Works in Sunridge Mall. (Submitted by Daniel Hurstfield)

“I was wearing a mask in the mall anyway, but it didn’t affect my eyes, it didn’t affect my breathing, it was just a very charcoal-y smell.”

Hurstfield said a number of people took shelter in stores, and about two minutes later mall security staff ushered everyone out of the mall through the back of store entrances. 

“It’s not everyday you get smoke bombed … it was just the shock value really.”

Paris Jewellers is located diagonally across from Bath & Body Works.

Police are searching for a suspect.