Hospital in London, Ont. calls Code Silver over threats scare, 1 arrested

University Hospital on the campus of Western University in London, Ont, on May 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Mark Spowart

What began as an investigation over threats made to police ended in a “Code Silver” being called inside of a hospital in London, Ont., overnight.

According to London Health Sciences Centre training materials, a Code Silver is called ‘when an individual is in possession of a weapon and an enhanced police response is required for a threat, attempt or active use of a weapon or device to cause harm.”

Under a Code Silver, “staff and affiliates should respond” by evacuating if possible, hiding if evacuation is not possible, and surviving by acting in self defense as a last resort in order to move to safety.

Provincial police said Friday morning that officers from the Middlesex County, Oxford County and Elgin County detachments were dispatched to Highway 401 at around 11:30 p.m. Thursday over “a report of an individual making threats against police.”

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“I’m not sure of the exact detail of the threats but I know that they were directed toward law enforcement officials,” OPP spokesperson Jeff Hare said.

Members of the Oxford detachment found the caller’s vehicle heading westbound on the highway towards London, police said. Officers tried to initiate a stop but the vehicle reportedly fled.

The vehicle was later found at London Health Sciences Centre’s University Hospital and the London Police Service was called in to assist.

An LHSC spokesperson confirmed a Code Silver was called at around 2 a.m. Friday.

Members of the London police and OPP located the suspect inside of the hospital and they were “taken into custody without incident,” Hare said.

LHSC said in a statement that it worked with police “to ensure the safety of our patients, visitors and team members, and the Code Silver was cleared by 2:45 a.m.” LHSC added that a Code Silver “does not indicate a lockdown.”

“Most importantly, we are now focused on ensuring the wellness of our people, recognizing a Code Silver can be upsetting and stressful. Resources are being offered to support our team. We would like to thank our Security team, staff, London Police Service, and the Ontario Provincial Police for ensuring the safety of our people and our patients.”

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When asked if the suspect was armed, Hare said that “there were no firearms found on the individual. There were no reports that indicated the individual had a firearm of any sort.”

When asked if there were other suspects involved in the incident, he said he did not believe so. Additionally, no injuries were reported in connection with the incident.

A 31-year-old from Norfolk County is charged with uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm.

University Hospital, at 339 Windermere Road, sits at the northern tip of Western University campus. It opened in 1972 (recently marking its 50th anniversary) and became part of the LHSC hospital network when it merged with Victoria Hospital in 1995.

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