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Man charged in firearm incident that shut mall by Parliament Hill

Ottawa police say one man has been charged after he pulled a gun inside the capital's largest mall near Parliament Hill, hours after it was able to reopen following a three-week long occupation of the city's downtown core.
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A police officer stands guard outside the Rideau Centre in Ottawa on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. Ottawa's largest mall was evacuated on the first day the mall had been open since protests forced stores to shut down late last month, police have laid several firearms charges against a 50-year-old Ottawa man. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Ottawa police say one man has been charged after he pulled a gun inside the capital's largest mall near Parliament Hill, hours after it was able to reopen following a three-week long occupation of the city's downtown core.

The incident forced an evacuation of the Rideau Centre mall for several hours on Tuesday.

Police say a 50-year-old from Ottawa shoplifted from a store around midday, and then pulled out a firearm when confronted by mall security.

He was arrested after a short foot chase, and police in a statement say there were no reported injuries.

Police say the man is charged with robbery and several firearms-related offences.

As the incident unfolded, those working or shopping noticed stores closing and heard an announcement that everyone needed to evacuate immediately.

The mall is a few hundred metres east of the parliamentary buildings, and closed Jan. 29 when demonstrators descended on the city protesting COVID-19 restrictions and the Liberal government.

The protesters staged an event inside the mall, swarming it with people refusing to wear masks. The mall's owners then closed it down citing the security situation.

The mall reopened on Tuesday.

Downtown Ottawa is still spotted with a series of police checkpoints aimed at preventing protesters from returning to the core after police on the weekend moved in to clear streets of people and vehicles.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2022.

The Canadian Press