Two people who identified themselves as victims of the pepper spray attack at the Willowbrook Shopping Centre on Wednesday afternoon said it took place as a result of a “beef” between 16-year-old girls.
The two victims, a 26-year-old man and his 16-year-old girlfriend, were at the mall in Langley because they were hoping to avoid some people she had a dispute with in Surrey.
However, they ran into a group of girls she had “been beefing with” in the food court, said the man. Both victims asked that they remain anonymous.
One of the girls at the food court, who the couple said was 16, had robbed her in the past, the female victim said.
At about 2 p.m., one of the girls followed the couple to Foot Locker, where she verbally confronted them, and wanted to speak to the female victim alone outside the mall.
The victims said they had agreed to do that if both of them could go, when the girl suddenly apologized, pulled out a canister of pepper spray, and shot both of them in the face.
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The young woman said her eyes still sting more than 24 hours after the attack.
“My girlfriend is pregnant, so I didn’t respond in the best way,” the male victim said.
He said he chased her out of Foot Locker and used his own canister of pepper spray on her.
They said someone else in the group with the girl who attacked them may have sprayed another of the couple’s friends somewhere else in the mall.
The male victim said his pepper spray was kicked away by a mall security guard.
Both victims had to change into disposable white overalls because their clothes were contaminated with pepper spray.
The entire attack was about “rumours” and past problems, the two said.
The male victim said that he has spoken to police and has a file number, but he’s not worried about being charged for retaliating with pepper spray.
Asked why he was carrying pepper spray at the mall, he said “Honestly, it was because we’ve been sprayed before multiple times.”
The pepper spray attack at the mall also affected a number of bystanders, although no one had to be taken to hospital. Langley City Fire Department crews and BC Ambulance paramedics responded to treat the victims.
The entire mall was evacuated for a little over half an hour, with staff holding doors open to help ventilate the building.
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