Monday, March 31, 2014

Was Brampton courthouse gunman acting alone?

BRAMPTON - Who was Charnjit "Sonny" Bassi planning to shoot and did he have accomplices?

With the fear a contract could have been put out on a witness or lawyer involved in a trial, sources say, Peel police had extensive security at the Davis Courthouse in Brampton on Monday.

And they are not ruling out anything on what the armed Bassi was doing Friday before he was shot and killed by police. Bassi, who was known to police, attempted to breach security and wounded Const. Michael Klarenbeek before being shot.

"Everything is being considered," said an officer. "Everything will be looked at."

Police want to know his movements in the moments before he tried to get into the court with a gun -- and in the previous weeks, too.

They want to know who he spoke with that day and in the weeks before.

They want to know his mood and demeanour. They want to know everything about this gunman and his life.

This is why Peel officers put out a public appeal Monday and released his photograph.

"He was bent on doing something or to get at somebody," said one police source. "No stone will be unturned to try to determine what that was and if there were other people behind it."

This is why police were canvassing Bassi's Brampton neighbourhood, asking the public for help.

But they are also considering this an active investigation -- one that did not die with Bassi.

Several officers said Monday that people might know a small detail or remember a coffee shop meeting that could really help police put this puzzle together.

So far, even though police say they do have an open mind, an investigator explained they do not believe the incident was related to a family court issue or that Bassi was before the courts himself.

As revealed by the Toronto Sun, police suspect Bassi was "targeting someone inside" the courthouse.

Within minutes of the shooting, police were trying to determine the target of this gunman and to find out if he was acting alone or was working with others.

"The reason we cleared the courthouse floor by floor was with the idea in mind that there could be a second person or more," said an officer.

The next thing they did was to try to determine what case could attract such hostility.

Another police source says a scenario being studied is the possibility that Bassi, alone or with others, may have been hired to "neutralize or scare" somebody involved in a case.

Police over the weekend and again Monday were going through security footage at the court to see if he had been there before.

"The goal is to see if there was a dry run or to see if he could be seen with other people," said a detective. "Was there a testing of the security before?"

In my experience with Peel police and their 100% clearance rate on major crime, my advice to those who have been hanging around with Bassi in recent weeks is to contact the force's homicide squad immediately before they contact you.

It's only a matter of time before police connect the dots. As one officer put it, the best thing for someone who knows what this is about is to come and explain it to police before the knock on the door comes.

If you know who "Sonny" Bassi might have been on his way to see in the courthouse Friday, Peel police are anxious to hear from you.
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