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The Globe and Mail

Toronto police officer in stable condition after being stabbed in neck

Toronto firefighter Mike Salb walks past the scene where a Toronto police officer was stabbed in the neck during a routing traffic stop, in the Wilson and Bathurst area of Toronto, April 16, 2012. Salb, off duty at the time, saw the scene from his house and went to the officer's aid until paramedics arrived.

J.P. Moczulski for The Globe and Mail/j.p. moczulski The Globe and Mail

A police officer who stopped a vehicle in north-end Toronto was stabbed in the neck during an altercation but will survive, thanks to a local resident, a firefighter who applied pressure to the wound until help arrived.

The officer, who is in his 30s, is in stable condition after undergoing surgery at Sunnybrook hospital. CTV is reporting the wounded officer is Constable Jeff Blair.

Several shots were fired in the clash and a 38-year-old male suspect with gunshot wounds was taken to Sunnybrook in critical condition.

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The incident began shortly before midnight Sunday night, when the officer left his patrol car to check a vehicle during a traffic stop near the corner of Northmount and Delhi Avenues, in a residential area of North York.

Neighbours heard seven to eight gunshots.

"As a result of some interaction with a member of the public, there was an exchange of gunfire with an individual," said Toronto police Inspector Peter Callaghan.

A veteran Toronto firefighter living next to the shooting scene, Mike Salb, was about to go to sleep when he heard five shots and the officer yell at a suspect.

"I heard a commotion on the street. I heard knocks and yells. 'Stop! Police!'," Mr. Salb told reporters Monday morning.

He looked outside and saw the officer fire two more shots.

Mr. Salb put on his clothes, rushed outside and saw the officer, who was holding the left side of his neck.

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The officer asked Mr. Salb to secure his radio and handgun.

Mr. Salb placed the radio onto the trunk of the police cruiser and took the gun inside his home.

His wife, Renate, gave him paper towels and he returned to the police cruiser and pressed them on the officer's bleeding neck until another officer arrived.

He looked after the injured officer until an Emergency Medical Services ambulance arrived and the officer was stabilized, placed onto a backboard, then removed on a stretcher.

Police Chief Bill Blair was briefed on the condition at the officer, who is from 13 Division.

"It's a serious wound, but he's stable and I'm confident he will be fine," he said.

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"It's very unfortunate. That's why I protect our police. I support them 100 percent. They have a very, very dangerous job. That's why I stick up for them," Mayor Rob Ford said.

The shooting of the civilian is now probed by the Special Investigations Unit, the provincial agency that looks into any incident where a member of the public is killed or seriously injured while interacting with police officers.

Police are not looking for suspects.

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