Police officer shot at Brampton, Ont., courthouse

Chris Doucette, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:57 PM ET

BRAMPTON, Ont. — A man was shot and killed inside a courthouse after seriously wounding a veteran cop in gun battle that sent people running for their lives Friday.

A well-placed QMI Agency source says the gunman walked in the main entrance of the building around 11 a.m. and rushed passed Peel Regional Police officers working at the security checkpoint after setting off the metal detector.

Const. Mike Klarenbeek immediately sprang into action, chasing after the man while shouting for him to stop, the source said.

That's when the fleeing man pulled out a firearm, turned and opened fire, hitting the officer at least once in the stomach.

The source said at least one of the other cops working at the security desk, possibly more, returned fire and killed the gunman.

Matt McMullin, 30, who was among the many citizens, lawyers and judges inside the busy courthouse, was in a courtroom for a proceeding just steps away when upwards of seven gunshots rang out.

"It was scary as hell," the Mississauga man said after the dust settled.

McMullin said he was sitting in courtroom 104 when a woman and man suddenly burst in through the doors.

"She yelled, 'Oh my God he has a gun and he's shooting,' " McMullin said.

Lawyers and others ducked behind benches and the judge ran out the back door to her chambers as an officer inside quickly locked the doors.

McMullin said he "hugged the wall" beside the doors, unable to see what was happening outside in the hall and terrified the shooter might enter the courtroom guns blazing any second.

"All I could think was, 'Oh my God, I hope he doesn't come in here,'" he said.

"It was the scariest thing I've ever been through in my life.”

Just down the hall in the cafeteria, more bystanders scurried under tables, trembling in fear.

Saadia Ali Bokhar said she wasn't sure what was happening at first.

"A girl said, 'Shooting, shooting! Gun, gun! Run, run!'" the lawyer said, still stunned after leaving the courthouse when the lockdown was lifted around 2:30 p.m.

She and others in the cafeteria ran towards a fire exit, but Bokhar said the door was blocked by construction.

She pleaded with an off-duty police officer who was among the crowd to "pick up a chair and break a window" so they could escape, but he refused to smash the glass.

"So I sat on the ledge of the window and he sat on top of me," Bokhar said. "Then he brought a table (in front of us) to protect me."

"I was just in such a panic," she said. "People, some of them were passing out, some of them were holding each other.

"I thought I was going to die."

McMullin said there was an announcement about an hour after the shooting telling people to move upstairs.

"That's when I saw the perpetrator's body," he said. "He wasn't moving."

Police held a press conference at their station across the street Friday afternoon explaining Klarenbeek was in stable condition after undergoing surgery.

"He's a good man, a good officer,” Staff-Sgt. Dan Richardson said. “He's a family man.”

Ontario's police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, is investigating the shootout.

-- With files from Jenny Yuen and Sam Pazzano

chris.doucette@sunmedia.ca


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