An employee of a CF Polo Park Shopping Centre store was rushed to hospital Thursday after attempting to stop a suspect from shoplifting, police say.

Crews were called to Polo Park at around 8:35 p.m. where they found an employee injured and bleeding.

Witnesses told CTV News it happened at Foot Locker, and the man was bleeding from the neck. Police could not confirm if a weapon was used.

The man was taken to the hospital in unstable condition, later upgraded to stable condition.

Police said the man was hurt after a group of employees confronted someone who was trying to run out of the store with several articles of clothing.

Melvina and Dakotah Guiboche witnessed the chaos while shopping at Foot Locker Thursday night. Melvina Guiboche told CTV News the couple was paying at the till when they heard a commotion, and turned around to see employees trying to detain someone who appeared to be shoplifting.

“They had him against the wall. They were calling for security. The guy kept trying to break loose,” said Guiboche.

The employees were surrounding the man according to Guiboche, but in a split second he says the suspect ran towards the door where one clerk stood, blocking his way. That’s when Guiboche says the suspect pulled a weapon out, slashing the young employee.

“His fellow employees went to the back to grab a first aid kit. They told him to keep pressure on the wound,” said Guiboche.

Melvina said police and first responders showed up within minutes while she and her husband stayed with staff. A day after the frightening incident, Melvina Guiboche questions why it happened.

“It’s so senseless. Whatever it was, if it was a t-shirt, a sweater, a pair of shoes. Is that worth a life?” said Guiboche.

A 17-year-old was arrested and is facing charges for robbery, aggravated assault and possessing a weapon. Friday morning, Winnipeg police said there was no indication the incident was related to methamphetamine.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Foot Locker wrote:

“Foot Locker is deeply saddened by the incident that took place at our Polo Park location. The safety of our customers and employees is of paramount importance. We are glad to report that the store associate involved is in stable condition and that the assailant is in custody. We are thankful to the first responders and our team members who acted swiftly in response and have initiated an internal investigation. We are also working closely with local authorities as they continue to investigate this incident.

-With files from CTV Winnipeg