Lethbridge, Alberta – Lethbridge Police have amended charges against a 40-year-old woman in connection with a hostage taking incident July 14, 2022.
Following further investigation, including testing of the airsoft handgun seized at the scene, it was determined the weapon met the definition of a firearm based on the velocity of its projectile. As a result, the original charges referring to an imitation weapon have been replaced with firearm charges.
Courtney Louise Shaw, of Lethbridge, is charged with: attempted murder, aggravated assault, taking a hostage, assault with a weapon (knife), two counts of possession of a weapon dangerous to the public, four counts each of unlawful confinement, uttering threats, pointing a firearm and assault with a weapon (firearm).
The charges stem from an incident July 14 where police responded to a 911 call reporting an armed subject inside the Lethbridge Legal Guidance office along the 400 block of 5 Street South. Four employees were working when a woman entered the building and asked to speak to a specific lawyer. When she was advised the lawyer was not available, she asked to use the washroom. After approximately 10 minutes she exited, pointed a black handgun at the employees and threated to kill them. One employee was able to grab her phone and hide under a desk to call 911. As the situation progressed, the subject also produced a knife, continuing to threaten to kill the employees if they attempted to leave and did not get the lawyer on the phone. Three employees were eventually able to escape but the subject confined a 54-year-old woman in an office.
Upon arrival, police cordoned off the area, evacuated nearby businesses and advised others to have employees shelter in place. The Critical Incident Team, including the Tactical Team and Crisis Negotiators, were deployed and established communication with the subject over the phone. Police negotiated with the subject for approximately one hour. Due to an imminent threat to the life of the hostage, members of the Tactical Team made entry to the building. The subject, who was holding a knife to herself, was taken into custody and officers immediately began providing life-saving measures to the victim, who had been stabbed multiple times in the neck.
EMS transported the victim to Chinook Regional Hospital where she was stabilized before undergoing surgery. She has since been released from hospital and is continuing to recover.
Shaw’s next scheduled court appearance is Sept. 1, 2022.
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