Woman charged after female hostage stabbed at Alberta law firm

Police said they had no choice but to send a tactical team on Thursday to rescue a hostage from a law firm because her life was in imminent danger.

They said on Friday a woman entered the Lethbridge Legal Guidance office asking to speak to a specific lawyer who was not there and, after using the restroom, came out and pointed a gun at two employees.

Acting Staff Sgt. Bruce Hagel said the suspect forced a 54-year-old woman into an office and closed the door allowing the others to escape. He said the tactical team contacted the armed woman by phone and spent an hour trying to get her to surrender.

“Due to an imminent threat to the life of the hostage, members of the tactical team entered the building,” Hagel said.

“Subject held a knife to himself, was taken into custody and officers then immediately began to take action to save the life of the victim who was critically injured after being stabbed in the neck multiple times .”

The victim received first aid from police officers and was later sent to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Police said she had undergone surgery and was in stable condition.

Hagel did not say what made police believe the hostage was in danger, but said his injuries likely occurred in the short time it took officers to enter.

“I would say within seconds. The tactical team entered the building and probably saved his life,” he said.

“They’ve been established very close because… the No. 1 priority is this hostage’s life.”

At the scene, police recovered a knife and a black Airsoft handgun, a BB gun designed to look like a real firearm.

Chief Shahin Mehdizadeh praised the officers for their professionalism and courage.

“Our members train on days like these and I am extremely proud of every officer and every employee behind the scenes,” he said.

“Our crisis negotiators did everything they could to communicate with the subject, to de-escalate the situation before the imminent threat of violence forced the tactical team in.”

Courtney Louise Shaw, of Lethbridge, faces multiple counts including attempted murder, aggravated assault, hostage taking, use of an imitation firearm in the commission of an offense and four counts of sequestration.

She has been remanded in custody and is due back in court on July 22.

By Bill Graveland

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