One of three men who initially raised suspicion by taking photos and videos inside a downtown Vancouver shopping mall has come forward.
Mohammed Sharaz told CBC News he was travelling to Vancouver from Manchester with his son and a friend, who are in town getting treatment for vision impairment. Police have since said their actions were "completely innocent."
"My friend, when he looks at anything head on, he doesn't see like me and you do," Sharaz said.
"So he'll take a picture or a movie and then later on when he gets back he zooms into it and he watches stuff. He takes pictures of anything and everything."
But their images were publicized after an internal police memo was leaked to a local website. The memo described three "suspicious" men seen taking images of the downtown Pacific Centre mall entrances and exits.
Police have since said their actions were "completely innocent."
Mohammed Sharaz was with his friend and son at the Pacific Centre mall. (Photo: Wikimedia)
Sharaz said he bought his son a phone to take pictures to show his friends and family back home.
Dr. Weidong Yu confirmed the two men are his patients.
“Because they don’t see well, they take more photos,” he told Global News.
He described the men as “very nice folks” to the Vancouver Sun.
"My son's got a disability. My friend's got a disability. We're the last people who are going to be hired by some terrorist organization to take video of stuff."
Sharaz said when he saw the reports, he phoned police right away.
He said he had no issues with how police handled the situation, but was more afraid of being targeted by vigilantes.
"Obviously [the police] didn't feel threatened by us or anything," he said. "I haven't heard from them since."
"My son's got a disability. My friend's got a disability. We're the last people who are going to be hired by some terrorist organization to take video of stuff," he said.
Sharaz said the three of them have stayed inside since they found out photos of them were circulating on social media.
Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer. (Photo: CP)
On Friday, Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer said information about the suspicious incident, included in a police internal memo, was never meant to be released to the media.
"We weren't planning on going public with it at this point because we didn't feel it was something serious enough to go public with at this point," he said.
Later that day, police released a statement saying the men had co-operated with investigators.
"The investigation has conclusively determined that their actions were completely innocent," the statement read.
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