Brampton policeman shooter Sonny Bassi was normal father

Brampton Courhouse shooting

Photo by Pam Douglas 30/3/2014

Police had this house on Flower Trail in Brampton under guard since soon after the Brampton courthouse shooting Friday morning until approximately 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
By Torstar Network With files from Pam Douglas

BRAMPTON— As the family and neighbours of a “nice”, “normal” middle-aged Brampton father struggle with the notion that he was the man who walked into the courthouse Friday and shot a Peel police officer, there are still no answers to the biggest question on everyone’s mind: Why?

Peel Regional Police began guarding a two-storey, grey brick house at the end of Flower Trail, a deadend street in an upper-middle class neighbourhood near Hwy. 50 and Cotrelle Boulevard, Friday. Police arrived at the house soon after Peel Const. Mike Klarenbeek, 53, was shot as he did his court security job at the Brampton courthouse Friday morning.

Klarenbeek is recovering in hospital.

A Peel officer guarding the house said Saturday it was to be searched in connection with the courthouse shooting.

Saturday afternoon, police backed a small white truck into the driveway of the home and some boxes were removed from the garage.

At the front door, there were signs of forced entry—a piece of splintered doorframe on the porch, dents in the metal door. Around 4:30 p.m. Saturday, less than an hour after police dropped off a frail-looking elderly woman and four young men, and soon after all police presence from the home was removed, a young man, eyes red-rimmed, struggled to open the warped door. Eventually, he peeked out, but said, “Sorry, we don’t want to talk.”

Police officer who was shot in Brampton courthouse

The SIU, investigating the death of the 46-year-old man who was shot by police immediately after Klarenbeek was wounded, would not release the dead man’s name, stating the family did not want him identified.

Neighbours said the man living at the home was Charnjit “Sonny” Bassi, the separated father of a little girl they often saw him playing with on the street. He lived in the home with his elderly mother, they said.

And later Saturday night, a man identifying himself as Bassi’s nephew, confirmed to the Toronto Star that his uncle had been shot dead.

“We haven’t seen the body. The SIU were here (at the family house) yesterday. They said the autopsy was done,” said the nephew, who didn’t want to give his own name.

“He was very humble. He was into meditation and yoga. He never got angry at anyone. Eventually, he said he was going to leave this materialistic world and go to India,” the nephew said.

Bassi’s sister-in-law also spoke to the Star but did not want to be identified. Both said they do not know what happened, and they do not know why Bassi was at the courthouse on Friday.

They confirmed that Bassi had one daughter and that he lived with his mother.

When asked what Bassi did for a living, they would not say. When asked if Bassi was known to police, had ever been arrested or had ever been in jail, they would not say.

A man who identified himself as a friend of Bassi spoke while standing on the driveway of the Flower Trail house and said that Bassi lived there and had been shot by police at the courthouse.

Neighbours said they knew little of the man who had lived in the house since the subdivision was built approximately 11 years ago.

“I don’t have any trouble with the guy,” a neighbour across the street said. “He’s a good person. He’s really nice.”

The neighbour said the man would watch the children when they played outside in the summer, and they would see him out shoveling snow and mowing his lawn, coming and going every day, but they did not know if he had a job.

“It can’t be this guy,” another neighbour, who lives two doors down, said. “He’s a very kind person. I don’t know what is going on in this world.”

Neighbour Ken Ambersley said his wife saw Bassi at 9:30 a.m. Friday morning (1 ½ hours before the shooting) and he “seemed normal”.

Neighbours described a man who was friendly, always said ‘hi’, and caused no trouble in what they say is a very safe neighbourhood.

Police would not say if they consider a resident of the grey house the courthouse shooter.

“From what I know of (Sonny), from my personal interaction, he’s a great guy, he’s an amazing father,” said resident Mandy Bedi. “Always says hi, always has a smile.”

Three neighbours, including Bedi, said they knew Bassi to drive a grey or silver Chrysler. Not long after the shooting Friday, police in the courthouse parking lot were seen searching a silver Chrysler Sebring.

Meanwhile, Klarenbeek’s wife, Lynn, released a statement through Peel police yesterday, thanking “everyone who has been so great through this difficult time”.

In the statement she said Klarenbeek specifically wanted to thank a nurse who first tended to him at the courthouse before paramedics arrived.

“He says without her help, it may have been a very different outcome,” the statement said.

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