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Defendants shot deputy at courthouse, escaped in sheriff’s prison transport van, authorities say

Posted Feb 28, 2013 11:35 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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An apparent altercation Tuesday among prisoners being held just outside a courtroom in a small town in Alberta, Canada, led to a sheriff's deputy being shot in the hand and a subsequent escape by two defendants in the sheriff's prison transport van.

The two were soon captured, and no one, including the deputy, suffered any life-threatening injury, although a witness to the capture of the escapees told the Edmonton Journal he heard additional shots fired at that time.

All schools and recreation facilities in Whitecourt were locked down as soon as authorities became aware of the escape.

It isn't clear whether the deputy was shot with his own sidearm, or a weapon somehow smuggled into the prisoner area.

Whitecourt Mayor Trevor Thain said it may be time for a metal detector to be installed at the courthouse. "We don’t normally have hardened criminals within Whitecourt as a rule,” he told the newspaper. “Our court isn’t really designed for that."

Additional coverage:

Canadian Press: "Alberta justice minister wants answers after sheriff shot at Whitecourt courthouse"

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