Police officer stabbed, civilian shot during altercation
Published Monday, April 16, 2012 12:11PM EDT
Toronto police say an officer who was stabbed in the neck during an altercation with a civilian late Sunday night is in serious but stable condition in hospital following surgery.
The officer, believed to be in his 30s, was stabbed and a 38-year-old man was shot during the incident, which occurred near Bathurst Street and Wilson Avenue.
Sources identified the officer as Const. Jeff Blair, a 12-year veteran of the police service, CTV News reported.
The civilian, whose name has not been released, is in critical condition in hospital, as of late Monday morning.
Police Chief Bill Blair released a video statement Monday morning to update the officer's condition and to hail an off-duty firefighter, emergency responders and staff at Sunnybrook hospital for the medical care they provided to him.
"The officer received a very serous stab wound to the neck and he fortunately received outstanding care from emergency medical services personnel who arrived and with the assistance of an off-duty firefighter who came to his aid," Blair said.
In his statement, Blair thanked the public for their support and concern, and reassured everyone the officer will recover from his injuries.
"It will be a slow period of recovery," Blair said. "It was a potentially life-threatening injury that he received, but we're very confident that he'll recover from his injuries."
Blair said the incident underlines the risks that all police officers face in the line of duty.
The officer was near Northmount and Delhi avenues when the stabbing took place at around 11:45 p.m.
Insp. Peter Callaghan, with the police risk management unit, told reporters at the news conference early Monday morning that investigators are not looking for any suspects.
Callaghan released few details about the incident because the matter has been handed over to the Special Investigations Unit, a provincial agency that investigates whenever a civilian is assaulted, killed or seriously injured while in the presence of police officers.
According to a news release from the SIU, the incident occurred after the officer pulled over a motorist near the intersection.
Off-duty firefighter, wife provide first aid
Mike Salb, an off-duty firefighter who lives in the area, said he was getting ready for bed when he heard a police officer scream "Stop, police" at someone before the sound of five gunshots.
Salb said he ran to his window and witnessed a police officer fire two gunshots at a man.
After calling 911, Salb and his wife went outside to help the wounded officer, who was holding his hand to the left side of his neck. The officer told Salb to grab his firearm and police radio and put them in a safe place.
Salb said he placed the police radio atop the trunk of a police cruiser and put the gun inside his house before he applied paper towels to the officer's wound.
A short time later, another police officer arrived and the pair applied pressure to the wound until paramedics arrived.
Police say the injured officer used to work in the traffic enforcement unit but is now a uniformed patrol officer working with 13 Division. The officer may have followed the suspect's vehicle from 13 Division into 32 Division where the altercation took place.
The officer's family rushed to hospital to be by his side, according to Toronto Police Association president Mike McCormack.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family right now," McCormack told reporters. "It's a relief (that he's ok) but a very traumatic experience for his family."
Later Monday morning, Toronto police and several police officers took to Twitter to thank the public for their prayers and support.
The SIU has assigned five investigators and two forensic investigators to the case. Anyone with information is asked to contact the lead investigator at 416-622-2314.
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