Credits: Bond St. E. CHRIS DOUCETTE/TORONTO SUN
OSHAWA – A day after a man was shot while allegedly trying to evade cops in a stolen hearse, it was business as usual at an Oshawa funeral home.
But the daring Boxing Day getaway attempt, like a scene from a Hollywood action movie, is something the owner of the McIntosh-Anderson-Kellam Funeral Home won't soon forget.
"It was certainly alarming," John Kellam said Thursday.
The man at the wheel of the funeral home's hearse during the reckless escape effort is recovering in hospital from gunshot wounds. But his injuries are not considered life-threatening.
Kellam, who is also the funeral director, said it's thought the man was trying to lose police when he broke into the funeral home around 1:20 a.m. Wednesday.
"He was looking for a hiding spot," Kellam said of the man, whose name has not been released.
Durham Regional Police have confirmed officers spotted the man in the area of King St. E. near Charles St. and then watched him break into the funeral home.
The officers called for backup and soon after the building was surrounded by police.
"He knew the police were out there," said Kellam, who received a call immediately after the break-in from the alarm company.
He said the man broke into a locked box and swiped keys to the company's vehicles, but it appears nothing else was damaged.
The man apparently made his way to the funeral home's garage, jumped into a van and started it. But for some reason he ultimately decided the funeral coach was more to his liking.
"I guess he thought he'd have a better chance at a getaway in the hearse," Kellam said, adding the van was left running in the garage.
Around 2:20 a.m., the hearse burst through the garage door out into the rear parking lot and police opened fire.
The hearse smashed into a concrete barrier on the north side of Bond St. and came to rest on the boulevard just steps from the Durham Region Courthouse.
It's not yet known how many times the man was hit, or where, but at least three shots pierced the windshield of the hearse.
Police and investigators from Ontario's Special Investigations Unit, which probes any injury or death involving officers, spent the day at the funeral home gathering evidence.
Kellam said he was forced to cancel Wednesday's visitation for one deceased person, but other services went ahead as scheduled on Thursday.