November 22, 2018 5:41 pm
Updated: November 22, 2018 10:02 pm

Northumberland Hills Hospital and Cobourg police partner for active attacker training

On Oct. 27, 2017, police shot and killed a man at Northumberland Hills Hospital. The man had shot and killed his wife at the hospital earlier that evening.

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In the wake of an October 2017 incident in which a man with a gun was shot and killed by police at Northumberland Hills Hospital in Cobourg, police and hospital staff collaborated in an “active attacker” training program.

On Oct. 27, 2017, Tom Ryan, 70, shot and killed his wife Helen, 76 in the triage room at the hospital.

READ MORE: Police shooting death of man, 70, at Cobourg hospital justified: SIU

When two police officers arrived at the hospital, they met Ryan, who pointed a gun at them. After an interaction, which included police trying to get Ryan to drop his weapon, the officers fired 30 shots at him. Ryan was struck by more than 20 of those shots and died.

On Wednesday, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) cleared the officers of any possible criminal charges in the case.

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“That particular evening, lives changed. Not for just the victims but for everyone involved,” said Chief Kai Liu of Cobourg Police Service. “He had pointed a firearm at the officers. This was witnessed by witnesses. The decision made by officers was determined to be justifiable.”
Almost immediately following the tragic event, police began to collaborate with the hospital to organize enhanced active attacker training for all staff.
“They looked at the FBI and Homeland Security, and essentially what they teach is Run, Hide, Fight,” said Liu.
“Our officers have been working within the hospital and other agencies in our municipalities for the active attacker training.”
“Our staff was prepared previously, but we’ve honed those skills and we are absolutely prepared should it happen again,” said Elizabeth Vosburgh, vice-president of corporate services at the hospital. “We are absolutely ready.”
In August, training culminated with a mock emergency exercise at the hospital.

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