Correctional officer out of hospital after hostage situation at Ont. jail
Published Saturday, September 15, 2018 8:49PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, September 15, 2018 10:03PM EDT
A correctional officer has been released from hospital after being taken hostage at a northwestern Ontario jail.
The officer, who has been identified by CTV Winnipeg as John Tsentouros, was taken hostage by multiple inmates Friday afternoon at the Kenora Jail in Kenora, Ont.
By 5:45 p.m. Friday, Tsentouros had been released and taken to hospital for assessment.
According to Greg Flood, a spokesperson for Ontario’s Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, an internal review will be launched into the incident.
“I can confirm that the officer was released from hospital and is at home recovering,” Flood said in a written statement. “The Ministry appreciates the excellent work of the Kenora staff that secured the release of the officer.”
It is unclear, however, if Tsentouros sustained injuries in the incident.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise funds to help Tsentouros, his wife and their two young daughters. The page describes Tsentouros as a “hero behind stone walls.”
According to Tsentouros’ LinkedIn profile, he has been a correctional officer since May 2014.
When reached by CTV Winnipeg, a family member said that they had no comment on the matter.
It is still not clear how the hostage taking situation unfolded or how many inmates were involved.
According to an Ontario government spokesperson, the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services mobilized its institutional crisis intervention teams and deployed negotiators to secure Tsentouros’ release.
Bob Smith, who has lived across the street from the jail for three decades, said he watched the incident unfold from his balcony.
“Basically, it was just a bunch of commotion to start with,” he said. “I mean, it wasn’t nothing. I guess most of the activity was on the inside.”
Hours later, Smith saw the officer emerge from the jail flanked by emergency response personnel.
“He came out on the stretcher,” Smith recalled. “They wheeled him out and he seemed to be sitting up and seemed to be fine, but that’s from this distance.”
The Ontario Public Service Employees Union, which represents correctional officers in the province, told CTV Winnipeg that union representatives were with staff at the facility Saturday to offer support.
The union also said that the psychological impacts of hostage taking can be long-lasting and that the officer is expected to be off work for a significant amount of time to get the help that he needs.
The Kenora Jail, located about 210 kilometres east of Winnipeg, is used for both male and female inmates and has a stated capacity of 105. However, overcrowding and staff shortages have been an issue at the facility, according to a report issued in Feb. 2017 by the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s chief commissioner.
With a report from CTV Winnipeg’s Beth Macdonell