Details emerge in Canada courthouse shooting

OTTAWA (AFP) - A devout Sikh immigrant with a criminal past and a woman facing marijuana possession charges were identified Tuesday as the shooter and the savior, respectively, of a policeman in a Canadian courthouse last week.

Police shot and killed an armed man at Canada's busiest courthouse on the outskirts of Toronto on Friday after he entered the secure building and shot and wounded an officer.

Ontario province's Specicial Investigations Unit (SIU) identified Charnjit Singh Bassi, 45, as the shooter.

His friends told the Toronto Star the twice-divorced father of a young girl had recently turned his life around, embracing his religion and moving in with his cancer-stricken mother to care for her.

Bassi was "a changed man," a friend told the newspaper.

Police are investigating why he went to the Brampton, Ontario courthouse, as he faced no outstanding charges and was not scheduled to appear in court.

Witnesses said he was well-dressed and tried to enter the building through a separate lawyers' entrance, bypassing security, but was asked to move to the public line.

Bassi immigrated to Canada in the mid-1980s.

A mystery woman credited with saving the officer bleeding from a gunshot wound to his abdomen by applying pressure to his wound until paramedics arrived, meanwhile, was outed by the media as Linda Hunt, 54.

She was in court that day to face marijuana possession charges. She told the Toronto Sun she self-prescribed the narcotic for severe knee and back pains, and seizures.

Hunt said she relied on first aid training she received nearly 30 years ago to help the bleeding policeman.

"I saw the blood pumping out of him and I was pretty worried," she told the Toronto Sun. "I knew if I didn't do something immediately, he was going to bleed out." The veteran policeman, Constable Mike Klarenbeek, is recovering in hospital.

His family issued a statement thanking Hunt: "She was the first to tend to him, before the paramedics arrived. He says without her help, it may have had a different outcome."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.