A Peel Regional Police officer was rushed to hospital after he was shot inside a courthouse in Brampton, Ont., Friday morning. Police say the suspect was shot dead during an interaction with police.
Peel Regional Police confirmed that Const. Michael Klarenbeek, 53, is the officer who was shot at the A. Grenville and William Davis Courthouse. He was transported to Brampton Civic Hospital for treatment, where his condition is stable.
The province's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) said that at about 11 a.m. on Friday, a man entered the courthouse at 7755 Hurontario St. and "discharged a firearm reportedly injuring a Peel Regional Police Service officer."
"There then was an interaction involving officers with the Peel Regional Police and the man. During the interaction, a PRPS officer discharged his firearm and the man was struck and has been pronounced dead," SIU spokesperson Jasbir Brar told reporters.
The suspect, a Brampton man, died at scene, according to the SIU. There are 15 SIU investigators probing the circumstances of the man's death.
The courthouse, considered one of the busiest and most secure in the Greater Toronto Area, is staffed with armed guards. The security barrier functions similarly to an airport screening zone, with separate lineups for the general public and court staff or lawyers.
Witnesses said the gunman attempted twice at separate times to cross through the screening area meant for lawyers.
"He came in through the lawyers' side, the cop asked him, 'Come here,' and he just pulled out a gun and started shooting," said Anthony Chandra, who was in the courthouse at the time.
"He point blank, like, shot [the police officer] in the chest. Like he's bleeding, I could see it," Chandra added.
Another woman in the courthouse at the time told CBC News that the shooter was told by police that he was in the wrong line when he was standing near a metal detector. The witness, who did not want her name used, described the suspect as wearing a long camel trench coat, a black fedora and sunglasses.
'Something about the way he looked'
She said the man came in from the lawyers' door and was calm and deliberate.
"I was walking towards the entrance. There was something about the way he looked, camel trench coat, his actions, I don't know how to explain it," the witness said.
'We heard an officer on the second floor basically instructing us to get inside the court as soon as possible and lock ourselves in.'—Sangetta Patel, criminal lawyer in the courthouse when the shooting occurred
When the officer was shot, she said, he clutched the left side of his chest as two other officers rushed to his aid, applying pressure to the wound.
The first floor of the courthouse was in lockdown and police tactical units were dispatched to the scene.
Peel Regional Police Const. Fiona Thivierge said there was no risk to the general public.
In a written statement, Peel Regional Police Chief Jennifer Evans thanked paramedics and hospital staff, and said the wounded officer was receiving excellent medical attention
“As chief, it is difficult hearing news that one of my officers has been injured. I am able to share with all of you that Mike is recovering after having had surgery," the statement said. "The injury he sustained is serious but I am grateful that his prognosis is good."
Several witnesses recorded video of their experiences while in lockdown. Some managed to capture the aftermath of the shooting. In one recording, an officer can be heard alerting others that a police officer was "shot in the abdomen."
Shortly after noon ET, CBC News spoke with Sangetta Patel, a criminal lawyer who was inside the courthouse at the time of the shooting.
She didn't witness what happened, but said she heard an officer yell up to the second floor for everyone to get back inside the courtrooms and to lock all doors.
"I was just standing outside on the second floor and we just saw three cruisers pull up very urgently to the front of the door and then officers ran in. Then we heard an officer on the second floor basically instructing us to get inside the court as soon as possible and lock ourselves in."
Patel said people on the second floor were eventually allowed out of the courtrooms but were being restricted to the second floor.
At a press conference, Peel Regional Police spokesperson Staff Sgt. Dan Richardson said that he knows Klarenbeek personally, and that the constable, "a good man" and a family man, has been with the force for close to 30 years.
Upon hearing that Klarenbeek was in stable condition, Richardson said, "We all breathed a sigh of relief."
The SIU automatically investigates all incidents in which anyone is hurt or killed during an interaction with police.