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A video that has recently surfaced on Sudbury.com shows a man wielding a knife and threatening customers in a downtown Sudbury Tim Hortons. However, what follows is aggressively shocking, as the ordeal escalated to fighting, bear spray and, eventually, a hostage situation.
The man who used the knife and the woman who unleashed the bear spray have both been charged.
Jenna Rae, a customer, was in line at the local Tim’s for her morning coffee. She caught most, but not all, of the incident on video. In her post, she wrote, “an aggressive man came into Timmies wielding a knife rambling about coffee and his view of the world, among other things.”
In fact Rae had spotted the man before he entered the store, and tried to warn the staff.
“I saw the guy with the knife, a woman, and what I assumed was his friend. They were in the LCBO parking lot. The man had his shirt off and was yelling about something that I couldn’t make out,” she said.
She further added, “I ran into Tim Horton’s to let the staff know that this man was approaching and seemed very aggressive and dangerous. At that point, he walked in yelling and brandishing his knife. It appeared that his yelling was directed at a woman he was with but in general he appeared out of control and not stable.”
She was quick to pull out her phone to document most of the incident, and recalls how she tried to be aware of other people’s privacy. She said she was also trying to record secretly as to not anger the knife-wielder.
The man was aggressively demanding that the customers in the store buy him coffee; numerous attempts were made by a number of customers to calm him and de-escalate the situation.
A woman tried to calm him down by proposing that she’d buy him a coffee if he put down his knife. The man refused, and the woman eventually deployed her pepper spray.
At one point, Rae said, “A woman was on her knees being held by the man with the knife. She appeared terrified and pleaded with him to let her go. Thankfully several people were able to free his grip on her and I was able to get a hold of her and bring her to the Sudbury transit security guard. I wanted to make sure that she was safe and out of harm’s way.”
However, the police hadn’t even arrived by this point.
When the police did arrive, their spokesperson, Kaitlyn Dunn, said the man grabbed one of the employees to use as a human shield and held a knife to the man’s throat. He ignored the officers’ commands to drop the knife and release the hostage.
Police didn’t comment how, but the Tim Hortons employee somehow managed to break free, and officers arrested the knife-wielder.
Ultimately, the 31-year-old man was charged with hostage taking, assault with a weapon, weapon dangerous, robbery, resisting arrest, and numerous breaches. The 34-year-old woman who pepper-sprayed the man, was charged with administering a noxious substance (bear spray), possession of a weapon, and numerous other breaches.