Lawrie talks about shooting at Toronto mall

Lawrie talks about shooting at Toronto mall

Lawrie talks about shooting at Toronto mall
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays might be in the middle of a big series against division-rival Boston, but baseball was understandably the last thing on Brett Lawrie's mind Saturday evening in downtown Toronto.

Lawrie was in the middle of shopping at the Eaton Centre Mall with his friend, Corey, when tragedy struck. One suspect opened fire in the lower-level food court that resulted in one fatality, two people in serious condition and an additional three victims who were treated for gunshot wounds.

Toronto's third baseman was in the vicinity when the shooting took place and had to evacuate the premises upon learning the news.

"We were down by the subway and we just didn't know how to really get out of the place, so we were like, 'OK, we have to go a couple of floors up,'" Lawrie said. "Then as soon as we were going up the first flight of stairs, we heard, 'bang, bang, bang, bang' as fast as you could pull a trigger.

"We were kind of skeptical on what we heard, and sure enough, we turned around and there were a bunch of people running up the stairs. Usually these people wouldn't be running out of a public place like they were, so that was kind of a trigger to myself and my buddy to get out of there as fast as possible."

Lawrie left the building and then went onto the social networking site Twitter to relay what he had seen. The native of Langley, British Columbia, explained the events to his 125,000-plus followers and was given credit by a lot of the mainstream media for being the first person to break the story.

It was an example of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but Lawrie can be thankful he escaped without injury. It's a moment that he will never be able to forget and said there was "instant panic" from everyone in the mall as people began to stampede toward the exits.

"It was almost as if you stepped on an ant hill and everyone just flooded out of the whole place," Lawrie said.

"We heard the shots, and you kind of think to yourself, 'Are those shots?' But you never know. That's not going to happen at the Eaton Centre Mall, you think that to yourself. But once we saw people run up the stairs, you saw the look on their faces that this wasn't a little thing. That's when I knew it was time to get out of there."

Lawrie understandably took a while to get his bearings. Approximately three hours after the incident, Lawrie tweeted "Rattled right now" and he spent most of the evening being thankful that he was able to escape.

"The more I thought about it, I was just glad that I was with my buddy because we just talked about it," Lawrie said. "The more that I thought about it, it was that I did get lucky, because we were right down there 10 seconds before. You don't know what could have happened, but just lucky enough to get out of there safe and sound."