Police respond to bear spray incident at Bay Centre

Emergency services on scene at Victoria mall where dozens affected.

At least three people were affected after a person used pepper spray in an altercation outside the Bay Centre in busy downtown Victoria on Thursday morning.

Police are looking for a suspect they believe used the bear repellent on someone they chased into the Douglas Street entrance to the mall just before 10 a.m.

According to VicPD, the suspect is described as:

  • Aboriginal man
  • Light beard
  • In his 30’s
  • Wearing jeans, plaid jacket, black baseball cap with orange logo
  • Also had a silver ring on his left pinky finger

Victoria police Sgt. Paul Brookes said the incident appeared to start outside the mall on Douglas Street. Witnesses said the suspect was involved in some kind of altercation with another person and wound up chasing them into the mall and using the pepper spray.

Once inside the suspect sprayed another bystander and the mist from the spray affected others nearby, Brookes said.

Marla Cannon, who was on her way into work at the mall with Maritime Travel, was among the collateral victims of the spraying. She didn’t see the person who did the spraying, but smelled the metallic vapor and had a sudden stinging in her eyes and face.

She and two other people were treated on the scene by paramedics and firefighters. One man was dressed only in shorts and running shoes, after being forced to strip his shirt off from the spray.

A description of the suspect and a photo from video surveillance cameras at the mall was expected to be released later Thursday if the police had not found the man, Brookes said.