Edmonton police are investigating after a theft and assault left one person in hospital with serious injuries late Tuesday morning.

Police said officers were called to Southgate Centre, on 111 Street near Whitemud Drive just before 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

EPS said it was reported that a male suspect had stolen from a business in the mall, when a male employee from another business stepped in.

“We determined that a shopkeeper had observed a male trying to steal an item out of a kiosk in the mall, and he went to intervene with the male suspect, and was severely beaten,” EPS Inspector Erik Johnson said at the scene.

The suspect fled the mall on foot.

Mall security was at the scene initially, while paramedics and police arrived a short time later.

The injured man was rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries. He’s believed to be in critical condition with what Insp. Johnson described as serious head injuries.

EPS first said the injured man was in his 50s, but later said he is 61-years-old.

CTV News has learned the injured man delivered flowers to a store in the mall from the airport, and did so every morning.

Meanwhile, police said the suspect had not been located – but said the mall’s surveillance video system had recorded much of the incident.

“Very good video here in the mall, security was very helpful, we were able to review the whole incident itself and get some very good pictures of our suspect that fled the mall,” Insp. Johnson said.

“[The video] shows a male going up to the kiosk, trying to take something, and another shopkeeper coming out of one of the stores and intervening as the male was leaving, then a pretty serious beating occurred after that.”

A spokesperson for the shopping mall said officials were working with police on the investigation.

“We are deeply saddened by this incident,” spokesperson Katherine Roux Groleau said.

“The security of our guests, our tenants and their employees is our number one priority. Our security team is trained with incident response procedures for these kinds of situations.”

The spokesperson said the mall would be open to the public for the rest of the day.

Insp. Johnson described the suspect as a male in his 20s – and said he expected police to release images of the suspect later on.

“I didn’t get a really good look at his face, someone was kind of half chasing after him, and then obviously gave up the chase because he was right by the door, he was pretty quick,” witness Ed. O’Flaherty said.

Insp. Johnson said investigators were interviewing two individuals believed to have been at the mall with the suspect.

“I think it was supposed to be a theft, that just turned into something way worse,” Insp. Johnson said.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call police at 780-423-4567 or #377 on a mobile phone. Anonymous tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

With files from David Ewasuk