Compensation board staff suffer after hostage episode
In this raw footage shows Patrick Clayton in the act of holding workers hostage.
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, November 17, 2011 6:53AM EST
EDMONTON - Some of the nine people held hostage two years ago by a gunman at a Workers' Compensation Board office building say they have been anxious, depressed and fearful ever since.
"I'm still nervous to go to work," wellness assistant Kyla McDonald wrote in her victim impact statement submitted in an Edmonton court Wednesday.
"I want Patrick Clayton to know ... no one will forget him, but it's not because of why he wanted to be heard."
Clayton had an ongoing beef with the WCB over an injury claim when he walked into the building on Oct. 21, 2009, armed with a rifle. He fired a shot at a fleeing security guard and herded people into an eighth-floor conference room.
He slowly released his captives one by one and surrendered peacefully to police 10 hours later.
The 40-year-old has pleaded guilty to hostage-taking, pointing a firearm and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
Clayton wiped tears from his eyes as several letters were read aloud at his sentencing hearing. He was expected to testify Thursday.
Security guard Nadir Gova wrote about how he still hears the gun blast that went over his head that frightful day. He said the sound wakes him up at night, and he has had to seek counselling and stop watch crime shows on TV.
"At work, I am always on edge when clients walk in through the front doors, carrying a case or bag or bulky jacket."
Andrew Hoffman wrote that he had to take a month off his job as a maintenance worker in the building. When he first saw Clayton with the rifle, he thought it was a joke and smiled, so Clayton jabbed him in the chest with the muzzle.
Hoffman said he doesn't live in daily fear like some of his co-workers. The WCB implemented new security desks and an emergency lockdown system at the building after the hostage-taking. It has also added a bulletproof doorway to the lobby of its health centre.
But he does worry that Clayton can't be controlled.
"If the accused is released, it seems likely that he will carry out another insane plan," he wrote. "Will he find another group of people to blame for his problems, threaten more lives?"
Crown prosecutor Lisa Tchir said she is seeking a significant prison term. Clayton faces a maximum life sentence for hostage-taking and a maximum 14 years each on the two weapons charges.