Off-duty firefighter-medic rushed to help stabbed cop in Canada
Patrol constable was recuperating Monday after undergoing emergency surgery
The Toronto Star
TORONTO — Veteran Toronto police Const. Jeff Blair is expected to recover from life-threatening injuries after he was stabbed in the neck during an altercation with another man in North York late Sunday night.
The patrol constable with 13 Division was recuperating Monday after undergoing emergency surgery at Sunnybrook hospital.
"It will be a slow period of recovery," Police Chief Bill Blair said in a YouTube statement.
"His family is with him and, of course, he has a tremendous outpouring of support, not only from his colleagues in policing but from the people of Toronto."
The other man was also rushed to Sunnybrook hospital, and was in grave condition with multiple gunshot wounds.
While his name has yet to be released, a spokeswoman for the Special Investigations Unit, the police watchdog probing the incident, said he is 38.
Blair, a husband and father in his 30s and 12-year veteran of the force, "was on his own enforcing the law" when he was stabbed, said the police chief, who is not related to the injured constable.
The incident occurred just before midnight on Sunday in the area of Northmount and Delhi Aves., near Bathurst St. and Wilson Ave. — north of Blair's patrol district — in 32 Division.
Medical care in hospital and on the scene was credited for helping pull the constable through.
Mike Salb, a Toronto firefighter for 22 years, had been watching the evening news and getting ready for bed with his wife, Renate, when he heard, "Stop, police!" Then, five gunshots rang out.
From his window, Salb saw Blair slumped against his cruiser. The officer then fired two more shots, he said.
Salb called 911 and rushed outside to help Blair, who was bleeding from a deep gash to his neck.
Wearing a Toronto Fire T-shirt and identifying himself as an emergency responder, "I approached the officer and he asked me to secure his gun."
After taking the gun inside his home, the off-duty firefighter grabbed paper towels, gloves and a flashlight and went back outside to help treat Blair's injuries.
He stayed with the officer, applying pressure to his wound for about five minutes, until paramedics and more police cruisers arrived.
During that time, the other man involved in the altercation was lying face down on the ground, said Salb.
"My first thought was to aid the officer ... It's a little unnerving, for sure," he said.
Insp. Peter Callaghan said the officer was "conducting traffic enforcement" in the area.
Two nearby vehicles were cordoned off Monday.
Yellow police tape, a black pair of flip flops the Salbs said belonged to the other man and crumpled paper towels used to staunch the officer's bleeding were marked at the scene. A Special Investigations Unit official carefully handled a bloodied pocket-sized knife.
There were few other details from police as the SIU took over the case. The provincial agency probes incidents involving police that have resulted in death, serious injury or sexual assault.
Sgt. Ryan Russell, 35, was the last Toronto police officer killed while on duty.
Russell died when he was struck by a snowplow wreaking havoc on city streets on Jan. 12, 2011.
Richard Kachkar, 44, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in connection with the incident.