'In a blink it went from peacefulness to mayhem': Two local residents escape Yorkdale mall shooting 

It was a frightening scene at Yorkdale Mall in Toronto after reports of shots fired sent the shopping centre into lockdown on Sunday.

Two local residents were inside the mall when it all happened.

“It was definitely frightening. It was surreal,” says Christine Tir.

Longtime friends Christine Tir and Zain Ismail were driving home Sunday from a weekend away when they decided last minute to stop for lunch at Yorkdale Mall.

“In a blink, it went from peacefulness to mayhem pretty much. People running everywhere, screaming, kids crying,” Tir says. “It was pretty crazy. It was wild.”

Not long after entering the mall, the pair heard an uproar of noise behind them.

“We just heard this muffled wave of noise behind us and her and I turned around just to see everybody running our way as fast as they could,” says Ismail.

“We just saw floods of people just charging towards us,” says Tir.

Not knowing what was happening, Tir says their reaction was to run.

“It was a stampede of people. We didn’t hear the gunshots, we had no idea what was going on. Zain just grabbed my arm and dragged me through the mall,” says Tir.

Wanting to know what was going on, Zain says they stopped to check his phone.

“I pulled up Twitter and searched Yorkdale, saw people posting gunshots and a shooting and that’s when I said to Christina, it’s time to go,” Zain says.

“My reaction was to flee. I just kept saying we have to get out of here, we have to find an exit. We have to get out of here. I just don’t wanna be here,” says Tir.

The pair ran finding their way through an underground corridor.

“Most people chose to stay and kind of huddle. I’m not sure what the reasoning was, but Zain was calling for people to come through these doors with us,” says Tir. 

Soon finding their way to safety.

“Once we kind of scurried down there for a few minutes and started to see where the exits were, I was completely relieved,’ says Ismail.

“That’s when police started arriving, all the trucks are pulling in and we made it out before they locked the mall down,” says Tir.

Tir and Ismail are grateful to be alive, but their experience has left them on high alert.

“I’m going to think twice just be on guard when I’m at the mall,” says Tir. 

“I definitely won’t be going to another mall, on a plane or sporting event without in my mind saying OK how am I going to get out of here if something happens,” says Ismail.