There are renewed calls to increase security at Health Sciences Centre after a person pointed what appeared to be a gun at security guards.

It happened Saturday afternoon outside the hospital's Sherbrook Street entrance.

"Extremely alarming,” said Nola McLennan, who works near HSC. “There seems to be a lot of security around the area, but, I mean, you can conceal a weapon quite easily."

Health officials say it all started with a disturbance inside Children’s Hospital. Guards detained one person, a second was escorted out of the building and that’s when the incident occurred.

The person, who's been identified as a male suspect, ran away after pointing the firearm at the guards.

"They responded quickly and absolutely appropriately to this incident,” said Ronan Segrave, chief operating officer of Health Sciences Centre.

It's not known if the gun was real or a replica.

An unprecedent event

Segrave said it's the first time anything like this has happened at HSC.

The union representing the security guards said they had to physically remove the suspect from the hospital.

The Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union said guards struggle with knowing how much force they're allowed to use and need clarification from the province and Shared Health Services.

"These security officers are more than willing to do their job, they just need the authority and the tools to be able to do it,” said MGEU president Michelle Gawronsky.

Shared Health said it recently enhanced patrols, parkade lighting and security during staff shift changes.

When it comes to guards, health officials say their response in this case was entirely in line with their training.

"Our security officers can and do use reasonable force when that's required and obviously within the context of legal framework and that's the same legal framework around reasonable force that applies to WPS,” said Segrave.

McLennan sympathizes with the guards.

"They need more support,” she said. "They have a horrible job to do. I wouldn't want to do it. It's frightening."

Winnipeg police say a suspect has been identified though video surveillance and officers are searching for the individual.