|An Alberta Sheriff is taken to a waiting ambulance after being shot in the Whitecourt Alberta courthouse. Whitecourt is about 160 kms northwest of Edmonton. Johnna Ruocco/QMI Agency
EDMONTON – An Alberta sheriff had one of his hands blown off after a prisoner opened fire inside a courthouse in Whitecourt, Alta., west of Edmonton.
The shooter and another prisoner then escaped in a sheriff’s van just before noon Tuesday.
The sheriff was in a courtroom when he responded to a commotion in the back room prisoner holding area, said Johnna Ruocco, who was one of about 25 people in the room for docket court at the time.
Moments later, multiple shots — about six — were heard and the courtroom was evacuated.
“We heard the shots and everything froze and then we started running,” said Ruocco, editor of the Whitecourt Star.
“One of the Crown prosecutors was yelling run, run.”
The injured sheriff was wheeled into an ambulance, with at least one severe gunshot wound to his hand.
Both escaped prisoners were captured around 12:30 p.m. at a nearby home.
One was still in the sheriff’s van and the other was captured nearby.