Man hospitalized after shooting at busy mall in Metro Vancouver

Shoppers were left huddling for safety following a shooting at a busy mall in Metro Vancouver that left a man with potentially life-threatening injuries on Monday afternoon.

Police said they were called to the Willowbrook Shopping Centre in Langley at around 3:30 p.m., and arrived to find a man suffering gunshot wounds. Authorities have not released any details about the victim, and the motive for the shooting is not yet clear.

"Based on the investigative theory in this initial phase, this does not appear to be a random act," Cpl. Holly Largy of the Langley RCMP detachment said in a news release.

Witnesses who were inside the mall recounted the unsettling moments after the shots were fired. Dawn Muckle was with her daughter at Nordstrom Rack at the time, and said they were taken to a stock room with dozens of other people.

"Everyone was ducking and hurrying to the back of the store," Muckle told CTV News. "There was this husband and wife with their young son behind us, and the wife was crying."

Eventually police told the shoppers there was no ongoing risk, and everyone was let outside.

"I felt a little uneasy leaving the store, you know, going out into an open parking lot," Muckle said. "But they assured it was OK, and everybody kind of just hurried to their cars."

Langley RCMP said the area surrounding Willowbrook mall would be cordoned off for a "significant amount of time" while investigators surveyed the scene. No further information is expected to be released on Monday.

About half an hour after the shooting, authorities also responded to a report of a vehicle on fire at a rural berry farm in Aldergrove.

It's unclear yet whether the shooting is linked to the vehicle fire, or to any of the recent gun violence in Metro Vancouver.

Anyone with information on the incident, including those with dash cam video taken in the Willowbrook area around the time of the crime, is asked to contact Langley RCMP. Those who want to remain anonymous can instead call Crime Stoppers.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Nafeesa Karim