Posted: Sep 29, 2012 9:48 AM by KTVQ (Billings)
Two people are facing charges in Billings after a can of bear spray was discharged at Rimrock Mall, forcing the mall to be evacuated and leaving dozens of people suffering from the spray.
It happened when someone discharged a can of bear spray outside the Buckle store.
Shoppers almost immediately began to feel burning in their throats, nostrils, and eyes.
Billings police say 18-year-old Alex Brady used bear spray against a juvenile male during a disagreement over a female acquaintance
Mall patrons were evacuated from the area and both Brady and the juvenile were taken into custody and now face disorderly conduct charges.
"I heard yelling, screaming," said Edward Hingst. "I looked over toward one of the stores and I saw some kind of liquid, didn't know what it was at the time being sprayed and then I saw kids running out, screaming and yelling,"
"We worked on sealing off the interior corridor of the mall where the majority of the pepper spray was at," said Terry Larson, a Battalion Chief with the Billings Fire Department. "Once we got that done and we made sure that we could evacuate the stores and then account for everybody that was in the mall before the incident was out."
Emergency crews treated about 50 people who have all recovered.
Larson says that Operation Coyote, the emergency drill earlier this week in Billings, helped prepare the fire and ambulance crews who treated as many as 50 people tonight at the mall.
Larson also said the mall should be cleaned up in time to open on Saturday.
Mall management issued a brief statement before it had a chance to talk with employees.
"The safety of our guests is out top priority," said Kendall Kavlie, property manager for the Rimrock Mall. "The situation is under investigation with police and we are cooperating with them in any way we can on their investigation."