Sunday, March 30, 2014
Mystery woman who aided shot cop in courthouse on pot charge
The plot has thickened.
Not only does it appear that the mystery heroine who helped save Const. Mike Klarenbeek no nurse, she was in Brampton court on pot possession charges.
Of course, no one looked for credentials in the seconds after a gunman seriously wounded the officer. Police shot and killed the gunman in the courthouse on Hurontario St., south of Steeles Ave.
It appears the mystery woman who intervened is Linda Hunt.
“Everything happened so fast and it seemed nobody knew what to do so I did what anybody would do,” Hunt said in an interview.
And nobody was more thankful for her actions than Klarenbeek’s family.
“Mike specifically wanted to thank a nurse, who was at the courthouse that day,” the officer’s wife, Lynn, said in a statement Saturday. “She was the first to tend to him, before the paramedics arrived. He says without her help, it may have had a different outcome.”
Police Sunday night said that Klarenbeek was moved from intensive care and is recovering in hospital. Police would not comment on the identity of the mystery hero.
Hunt, meanwhile, has never been a nurse.
“But I did have St. John’s Ambulance training 28 years ago,” she said Sunday.
It proved useful Friday.
“I have used it a couple of times when I came across car accidents,” she said.
But the resident of Dunchurch, near Parry Sound, who spends the winter in Brampton, had not been in such a situation in years.
Hunt said she suffers from severe knee and back problems and survives on a disability pension. She says she was hurt on the job while working for a company that builds highways and bridges.
“When (the shooting) happened I remembered what they taught me. I knew I could help,” she said.
Hunt, 54, was “sitting in a chair right beside the security station” when the gunman entered. “He came through the staff entrance,” she said.
The next thing she remembers was the sounds of gunshots.
“I think I heard seven shots,” she said from a friend’s house in Minden. “It was scary.”
Hunt would not provide full details of the shooting, explaining she has spoken with the SIU and is scheduled to talk with Peel police detectives on Tuesday.
However, Hunt said she will never forget the officer’s wounds.
Even with her mobility issues, she said, “The adrenaline kicks in and you just do what you have to do.”
She saw Klarenbeek on the floor in obvious distress.
“I saw the blood pumping out of him and I was pretty worried,” she said. “I knew if I didn’t do something immediately, he was going to bleed out.”
Hunt said she was one of the people who dialed 911.
“They can bleed out fast. A lot of people there didn’t know what to do and the police were busy trying to make sure everybody else was safe so I just stuck my hand in around the wounds and kept it there.”
Hunt recalled Klarenbeek was bleeding badly from the abdominal area.
“It is a very dangerous place,” she said. “Basically I applied pressure right to the wound.”
Hunt was accompanied by paralegal Marta McCulligh — wife of lawyer Jack McCulligh — who was there to represent her on a marijuana possession charge.
“She was fearless,” Marta said of Hunt. “She just dove in there without hesitation and really seemed to know what she was doing. I am in awe of her and what she did. She is a hero, no question about it.”
However, said Hunt, it really is not like that. “No way. I am not a hero in any way,” she insisted, adding that police deserve the accolades.
Klarenbeek, she said, is a hero for not letting the gunman get into the courtroom.
“They were all so brave,” she said. “They were so nice to us.”
It was especially appreciated by Hunt, who said she is troubled by her appearance in court on the pot charge.
“I take marijuana to help me with my pain and seizures. I bake it and eat it to help me but I have to deal with it,” she said of her legal problems. “I have not been in trouble before.”
Jack McCulligh called her alleged offence a “minor thing” and said Hunt is a “great person” who did the humane thing.
“Both she and Marta did what they could to help,” said Jack, who was in a courtroom when the shooting happened.
Hunt said, “Marta was also a big part of it” by assisting and keeping the officer comforted.
Same goes for Klarenbeek’s fellow officers, who, she said, were encouraging him.
“I heard them saying hang in there KB. Hang in there KB. I thought it was his nickname,” said Hunt. “I can tell he is well respected. I told them to keep talking to him. It really helped because he was definitely unconscious for a moment there.”
Hunt said she recalled some people heckling her.
“There were some people actually yelling at me for helping a police officer,” she said. “They were telling me to not help him, saying I was despicable.”
She said others were “laughing” while many were “taping it with their cellphones” instead of helping.
“It was awful. I was disgusted with them,” she said.
As for the words from Klarenbeek’s wife, Hunt said she appreciates them.
“It’s very nice,” she said, “but I think I did what anybody who knew first aid would do.”
Though Hunt may have been the saviour who prevented an officer’s funeral, she’s still scheduled to be back in court in April when she hopes there will be less action.
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