WATCH ABOVE: Constable Mike Klarenbeek who was shot at the Brampton court house Friday is awake, talking to family and grateful. The shooting Friday prompted a wave of well-wishes from the public. It’s also raising concerns about court-room security. Cindy Pom reports.
- According to Peel Regional Police, Cst. Klarenkbeek is ‘alert and speaking with his family’.
- The Special Investigations Unit has assigned more than a dozen investigators to the case.
TORONTO – A veteran Peel police officer seriously injured in a shooting at a courthouse in Brampton, Ont., is “alert and speaking with his family,” Peel Regional Police tweeted out Saturday morning.
Great News! Cst. Klarenbeek is alert and speaking with his family. Your prayers worked and he is doing well! Thank you all.
— Peel Regional Police (@PeelPoliceMedia) March 29, 2014
In a statement released by police, his wife Lynn said the family would like to thank everyone for their support “through this difficult time,” including paramedics, police and members of the public.
“Mike specifically wanted to thank a nurse, who was at the courthouse that day. She was the first to tend to him, before the paramedics arrived. He says without her help, it may have had a different outcome.”
A spokesperson with the Special Investigation’s Unit (SIU), which is investigating the incident, said in an email the suspect is a 46-year-old male and that his family has not consented to the release of his name.
WATCH: A gunman walked into a Brampton, Ont. courthouse on Friday and opened fire. A 30-year veteran of the police force was shot, before the gunman was killed. Christina Stevens reports.
The motive of the 46-year-old, who police believe is from Brampton, is still unknown.
Police say the suspect entered the A. Grenville and William Davis Courthouse on Friday just before 11 a.m. and shot Const. Mike Klarenbeek near the courthouse security checkpoint. Nearby officers responded and shot the suspect. The unidentified gunman was pronounced dead at the scene.
Klarenbeek, a 30-year police veteran was taken to Sunnybrook Hospital via an emergency run where he remained in stable condition.
“He’s a good man and a good officer,” Staff Sgt Dan Richardson said. “I can tell you that when the Chief [Jennifer Evans] sent out her message to us in the organization saying he was in stable condition, we all breathed a collective sigh of relief.”
The SIU has invoked their mandate and assumed oversight of the investigation.
Arslan Hanif was in the Brampton courthouse appealing a conviction for one of his clients. He heard three to four gunshots, he said, and ran into the hallway.
“He was on the floor, officers ran up to him, they handcuffed him,” he said in an interview Friday. “At that time he was moving, a few minutes later, they tried to get his breath back and tried to revitalize him. However, at that time he was passed away.”
The Peel Police tactical unit searched the courthouse room by room, deeming it safe just after 1 p.m. Friday.
The courthouse has dozens of courtrooms, many of which were in use at the time of the shooting. As such, lawyers, employees and regular citizens were caught in the locked down building as police officers roamed the hallways.
Alex Anderson told The Canadian Press that he was in the first floor hallway of the courthouse when he heard gunshots.
“I heard one shot and I didn’t think too much of it. I looked around and a lot of people froze,” he said. “Then a series of shots that just went two, three, four, five, in that process, people were running.”
A short time later, he said, he looked back into the first-floor hallways and saw what appeared to be a covered body on the floor near the entrance.
An image published to Twitter by a lawyer working at the courthouse appears to show a male police officer being rushed to an ambulance as another officer applies pressure to his abdomen.
Theresa Klyn, an Ontario Court of Justice employee, heard the gunshots.
“We were all working in the area around the window areas, we heard gunshots and warned all our staff to get down and be safe and I just ran out the back door,” she said. “All I know is I’m nervous as hell and I’m just worried about other people too, right?”
Neil Gregson, a lawyer who was in the courthouse, told Global News he saw someone being taken out of the courthouse by paramedics.
“Our clerk was talking to another clerk and that’s how we found out there was shots,” he said. “It seems that whatever happened, happened there, near the front door.”
And Will Jaksa, a Toronto-based criminal lawyer who was also in the courthouse, tweeted that shots had been fired.
Shots fired on the first floor of the courthouse. Locked in a courtroom as the cops clear the building.—
Will Jaksa (@Will_Jaksa) March 28, 2014
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford tweeted Friday afternoon that his “thoughts and prayers go out” to the injured police officer.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Constable Mike Klarenbeek, his family, & the entire Peel Regional Police. We hope for a quick recovery.—
Mayor Rob Ford (@TOMayorFord) March 28, 2014
- With files from Mark McAllister, Shane Kalicharan and the Canadian Press
© Shaw Media, 2014