Two Held After Alberta Courthouse Shooting Leaves Sheriff Wounded

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By IBTimes Staff Reporter | February 27, 2013 5:43 PM EST

Two prisoners were back in custody after a shootout in a courthouse in Whitecourt, Alta., left a sheriff injured in the hand. The incident occurred early Tuesday when a prisoner tried to escape from the courthouse.

The suspect managed to escape from the courthouse with a second prisoner in a sheriff's van, but both were arrested Tuesday afternoon, according to CBC.

Citing a local radio reporter who described the scene that started at around 11:30 a.m. inside the Whitecourt Law Courts, CTV News has reported that people heard a commotion inside closed doors, where prisoners are escorted into court.  

"The sheriff who was in the courtroom at the time immediately swung up, and ran to the back," Lynden McBeth, the radio reporter present at the scene said, adding: "Within seconds we heard 'Bang bang' and then the courthouse was evacuated immediately. People, then, were running for their lives."

Apparently, during the commotion, two prisoners, including the one who shot at the sheriff, made their way to a sheriff van and escaped and headed to Highway 32 near a farmhouse, just a little away from the town of Whitecourt.

After a long standoff in the farmhouse, the two prisoners were arrested after many shots were fired by police. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) from many detachments reportedly helped in the arrests.

Earlier, Whitecourt detachment commander Sgt. Rodney Koscielny said police had searched adjacent properties to ensure no other prisoners were at large.

"This is over the top", he said, pointing out: "We're here to protect the public and something like that affects us all, including the public. So yes, it is very serious."

Whitecourt is located 180 kilometers northwest of Edmonton. 

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