Two dead after shooting in Cobourg Hospital

Cobourg Police report that “on Friday October 27, 2017, at about 11:08PM, officers of the Cobourg Police service were dispatched to Northumberland Hills Hospital. As a result of the incident, the provincial Special  Investigations Unit (SIU) was notified, and they have invoked their mandate to investigate.”  SIU report that two people are dead – seemingly one man being shot by Police and a woman  seemingly shot by the man.  It all happened in the Emergency room.  Because of the shooting by Police, the SIU has been called in to investigate.  Only limited information is available at this time – below is the SIU Press Release.

SIU Report

The province’s Special Investigations Unit is examining the circumstances surrounding a fatal police-involved shooting that occurred late last evening inside the emergency room in the Northumberland Hills Hospital in Cobourg.

Preliminary information suggests the following occurred:

  • Around 11:00 p.m., Cobourg Police Service received a call for reports of gun shots inside the Northumberland Hills Hospital.” A short time later, two police officers encountered a 70-year-old man inside the emergency room of the hospital.
  • There was an interaction and both police officers discharged their firearms.
  • The man was struck.  He was later pronounced dead at the scene.
  • The body of a 76-year-old woman was also located at the scene.  Six investigators and two forensic investigators have been assigned to investigate this incident. 

The SIU is urging anyone who may have information about this investigation to contact the lead investigator at 1-800-787-8529. The Unit is also urging anyone who may have any video evidence related to this incident to upload that video through the SIU website.

The SIU is an arm’s length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.

Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must

  • consider whether an officer has committed a criminal offence  in connection with the incident under investigation
  • depending on the evidence, lay a criminal charge against the officer if appropriate or close the file without any charges being laid
  • report the results of any investigations to the Attorney General. 

NHH Reports

The Hospital kept the public updated with press Releases

NHH Report 1:00 AM

We can confirm that there was a serious incident within the NHH Emergency Department late this evening involving a weapon.

The scene has been secured and police are on site.

There is no danger to the public or to staff. All current patients, caregivers, staff and police personnel are safe and patients are receiving care as appropriate.

At this point in time, due to the incident, and the related police investigation, incoming patients to the NHH Emergency Department have been temporarily re-directed to other area hospitals while the incident is investigated.

NHH Report 5:00 AM

Due to the incident, and the related police investigation now under way, patients to the NHH Emergency Department continue to be re-directed to other area hospitals. Care in all other areas of the hospital continues as normal.

“Our staff and physicians are trained to deal with weapon-related situations,” said Linda Davis, President and CEO. “While we hope that we never need to use this training, it proved very beneficial tonight. I want to thank our staff and our local police services for their fast and professional response. NHH’s Employee Assistance Provider is on site providing support to staff. Due to the ongoing investigation we are unable to comment on the specifics of what occurred in our Emergency Department last night. What I can tell you is that the scene is secure and all current patients, caregivers, staff and police personnel are safe.”

NHH will continue to work with police to return the Emergency Department to normal service as soon as possible. We will share further information as the investigation work is completed. 

NHH Report 9:00AM

Due to the ongoing investigation NHH is unable to comment on the specifics of what occurred in the Emergency Department. All inquiries related to the police investigation may be directed to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) c/o media contact Jason Gennaro at 647-981-9869 or [email protected].

As we support our team through this difficult time, NHH will also continue to work with police on the ongoing investigation as required.


CTV News report

Summary of CTV report

SIU spokesman Jason Gennaro said a 70-year-old man and 76-year-old woman, who were married to each other and lived within an hour of Cobourg, were both admitted to the hospital’s emergency room late Friday night with unknown ailments.

Around 11:00 p.m., Gennaro said police were called to the scene after receiving reports that shots had been fired in the triage room where both the man and the woman were lying side by side on gurneys.

A nearby patient, Grace Andrews, 27, reported that she thought it was automatic gunfire and that someone in the hospital was “shooting the place up”.  Eventually, she spoke to other patients who she said told her the man had shot the woman in the head.

Police and SIU would not confirm this report.  They are still “investigating”.

Shortly after arriving on the scene, the SIU said two police officers had an interaction with the man resulting in both firing their weapons.

Their shots hit the man, who was declared dead at the scene.

Gennaro said Ontario Provincial Police is handling inquiries into the woman’s death, while the SIU itself probes the death of the man.

Here’s another report from National Post – little additional info.

Update – 30 October 2017

Pete Fisher provided extensive additional information on this event in the Northumberland Today Newspaper.  Some is available on their web site here but much more was provided in the print edition.

Below are a few key items as reported by Pete.

  • The woman who was shot in the head was Helen Ryan. She was married to Tom (William) Ryan – they married in 1971.
  • Both had medical problems and were often attended by Paramedics. His was a leg problem, being very overweight and possibly also a spinal problem.  Hers was possible Alzheimers and other maladies.
  • Their official address was Houston, Texas although they were Canadians who spent a good portion of their time in Northumberland to get health benefits.
  • Their most recent Northumberland address was the Salem Woods Trailer park east of Colborne.
  • Pete Fisher quoted a relative of Helen, Connie Woodcock, who spoke about their relationship. She said that “Ryan was a controlling husband.  He had threatened Helen many times“. And “Helen was a dear sweet woman”.
  • Tom boasted that he had as many as 700 firearms – presumably mostly in Texas.

More details are available in the print edition of the Newspaper.