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Officer, paramedic recount ‘chaos’ of Eaton Centre shooting

Const. Daniel Smith talks to reporters after testifying at the trial of Christopher Husbands in Toronto on Oct. 17, 2014. CITYNEWS

A paramedic and police officer — who was a mall security guard when the shooting at the Toronto Eaton Centre happened — described the “chaos” of the event after emerging from court on Friday.

Paramedic Robert Kovacsi and Const. Daniel Smith both testified at the trial of Christopher Husbands, 25, who has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder.

The attack on June 2, 2012, killed Ahmed Hassan, 24, and Nixon Nirmalendran, 22. Five other people were hit by stray bullets. A 13-year-old boy was shot in the head and survived.

Smith testified to working that Saturday around 6 p.m., the busiest time in the food court, when there would have been thousands of people there.

He said he was close enough to hear the first shots and to see Husbands, arms raised, firing the 14 rounds, “Pop, pop, pop, pop.”

“There was a chaotic scene, just pandemonium — complete, just absolute, chaos,” Smith later told reporters outside the courthouse.

“It was obviously frightening. It’s not something you see every day, so it was very frightening. It’s something that’ll stay with me forever. It’s something I’ll never forget.”

Kovacsi was also one of the first to respond that day and described it as “surreal.”

“We’re going in against a flow of panicked people trying to make our way in,” he said.

“It was an odd sensation to be going against that … You don’t know what’s going on. You don’t know what you’re going to come up against.”

Husbands has also denied charges of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, recklessly discharging a firearm and five counts of aggravated assault.

More police officers and witnesses who called 911 are set to take the stand when the trial resumes on Monday.