An 18-year-old man was shot in the head after grabbing a constable’s baton at a courthouse in Canada — a violent confrontation that unfolded in front of the teen’s mother, authorities said.
The man, identified by several local news outlets as Steven Bertrand, was shot during the spat at the Maniwaki Courthouse in Quebec at about 1 p.m. Wednesday, after he tried to step outside to have a cigarette. A 2-minute video of the harrowing ordeal — which had been watched more than 2 million times on Facebook as of Friday — shows witnesses inside the courthouse criticizing the court officers as they struggle with Bertrand.
“Stop f–king choking him, bro,” one witness said. “That’s abuse of force, that’s abuse of force, buddy. Steven, knock him the f–k out, that’s abuse of force.”
Other constables join the struggle, as Bertrand is pushed through a doorway and out of the frame. A woman, identified as the teen’s mother, ran to the doorway to watch the chaos — and screamed as a shot was fired.
Quebec’s Bureau of Independent Investigations said in a statement that a constable shot Bertrand after he seized the officer’s baton and possibly struck him in the head. Both men were taken to the hospital, but their conditions were unclear, Canadian officials said in a statement.
The mother told CBC News that her son was in a coma late Thursday. She said her son, who had just received a six-month jail sentence, was waiting to be transferred when the scuffle erupted.
He wanted to smoke a cigarette, but was told he couldn’t leave since he had already been remanded into custody, she told CBC. The outlet did not identify her by name in order to protect her son’s identity.
The bullet entered Bertrand’s skull near his nose and was lodged in his neck, his mother said from a hospital in Gatineau, Quebec.
“In the video clip, I see and hear my son during the whole scuffle,” she said. “It was absolutely terrifying … When I talked to him last night, you could hear the fear. As a mother, you know when your child is scared.”