CrossIron Mills mall security guard honoured
Several dignitaries, as well as a number of RCMP officers were on hand when Insp. Tony Hamori, officer in charge of Airdrie RCMP Detachment, presented Khalid Shahid, a CrossIron Mills mall security officer, with a Detachment Commander’s Certificate of Appreciation, April 30.
The honour was awarded for Shahid’s role in rescuing a woman who had been assaulted and abducted by an ex-boyfriend, March 28.
“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that had he not had the presence of mind to do what he did… we could have had a much, much worse scenario on our hands than we did,” said Hamori of the security guard. “(His actions were) nothing short of commendable, brave, (it was) very quick thinking, good presence of mind.”
During the incident, the victim passed a note to a mall patron in the washroom asking the shopper to call 911 because she had been abducted. The Good Samaritan took the note to the mall security office, the RCMP were called and Shahid became involved. The 25-year-old, who has been working at the mall since October 2009, located the suspect and the victim, who was wearing a red Calgary Flames jersey, sitting in the food court thanks to a description provided by the Good Samaritan.
The victim, who showed no sign of distress, along with the suspect, her ex-boyfriend, exited the mall to smoke a cigarette. When they returned to the food court, the victim leaned over to Shahid and mouthed “help me.” That was when Shahid, assistant site supervisor for security, knew the note was not a prank.
“Right then, I knew it was serious,” he said. “Just seeing the fear in her eyes.”
Shahid then approached the couple and asked the victim if she was OK and if he could take her blood pressure in an attempt to lure the two to the mall’s security office, located just steps away from the food court.
Both the victim and suspect agreed and upon entering the foyer of the security office, plain clothes RCMP officers were on hand and identified themselves.
According to Shahid, the suspect became enraged and grabbed the woman. The officers got involved and the victim was able to free herself and run to the supervisor’s office. The suspect, an Innisfail resident, then became belligerent and a struggle ensued before he was arrested.
The suspect has been charged with 15 counts including break and enter with intent, forcible confinement, choking to overcome resistance, assault, assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and other offenses. RCMP in Calgary and Airdrie determined the victim and the male had been involved in an incident on March 15 where the accused was arrested and released on strict conditions.
The experience, a first for Shahid, was out of the ordinary.
“I have definitely not been in a situation where I have seen a civilian attack officers of the law so that was hard to believe at first,” he said. “It definitely blew me away.”
Shahid, who plans on applying to join the RCMP, attributes his ability to remain calm to his training and mentorship from the Mounties.
“I have a very supportive team,” he said.
“It is very easy for me to stay calm in a stressful situation.”
According to Hamori, the victim, who can’t be named, is doing as well as expected. The suspect is still in custody.
Hamori said he will be sending the Good Samaritan, who lives in northern Alberta, a similar certificate of appreciation for her role in the incident.
He added the victim made an unsuccessful attempt at passing a similar note to a bystander prior to coming to the mall.
“Obviously, she was desperate and I am glad it resolved the way it did.”
Lois Habberfield, Rocky View County councillor for the area, said the security guard and Good Samaritan should be honoured for their part in the incident.
“I am very proud that we have a local employee that stepped up to the plate when he was needed,” she said. “A lot of women fear that someday they could be in a position where they could be the victim of abuse and to have another lady and the security guard come to the rescue is very commendable. It is a great day to honour those heroes out there who sometimes get forgotten.”