UPDATED: Charnjit Singh (Sonny) Bassi of Brampton shot dead at courthouse after shooting officer, friends and ex-wife baffled

BRAMPTON DEADONTARIO’S Special Investigations Unit (SIU) on Monday identified the man killed by police at a Brampton courthouse on Friday (March 28) last week as Charnjit Singh (Sonny) Bassi, 45, of Brampton.

When an officer called Bassi over after he reportedly tried to bypass a security lineup at the A. Grenville and William Davis Courthouse at 7755 Hurontario Street in Brampton, Bassi allegedly started shooting at police. He shot an officer before another officer shot and killed him.

One news report said that a witness said Bassi tried to rush through the lawyers’ entrance near the front entrance instead of going through the security checkpoint for visitors and was challenged by an officer.

Peel Regional Police Constable Mike Klarenbeek, 53, was shot in the abdomen. He has now been transferred out of intensive care.

The SIU announced in a press release that it has 15 investigators and three forensic investigators probing the circumstances of this incident.

Peel Regional Police Homicide and Missing Persons Bureau investigators are conducting a full investigation into the actions and activities of Bassi leading up to the events that transpired on March 28. In particular, investigators are trying to determine what brought Bassi to the Brampton Courthouse and his intentions on that date.

Bassi’s neighbors told the media that he lived with his mother while his ex-wife lived down the street and their young daughter used to move between the two homes.

The Toronto Star reported that Bassi’s friends said he emigrated from India around 1986. His first marriage was an arranged one and ended quickly. His second marriage ended in a divorce in 2012.  But he and his ex-wife remained friendly and he even mowed her lawn occasionally.

Media reports quoting Bassi’s friends said that he had turned very religious in recent years and this seemed to help him deal with challenges he was facing. He had given up meat and alcohol. He was halfway finished writing a religious book.

The Toronto Star said his friends were disappointed that a proper effort wasn’t made to revive Bassi after the shooting. A bystander video taken immediately after the shooting shows police attempting to handcuff Bassi as he lies face down on the floor.

On Thursday, one of Bassi’s friends who helped wash his body in preparation for his funeral, told the Toronto Star that he saw what he believed to be four gunshot wounds in Bassi’s upper body, including a wound behind his right ear.

The Mississauga News reported that Bassi had been previously charged with aggravated assault, weapons offences, credit card fraud and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.

However, he was not facing any criminal proceeding in court last week and he did not have any outstanding charges, according to media reports.

When the Toronto Star tried to access his criminal court files, the Ministry of the Attorney General informed the newspaper that all information was being withheld. A spokesperson for the ministry refused to say why that was being done. But later, the ministry released the information.

The newspaper reported that in 1997, Bassi was charged with possession of stolen property under $5,000 and forgery of credit cards, but those charges were withdrawn. In 1999, he was charged with aggravated assault and possessing a dangerous weapon in a fight at a Peel-area restaurant. He allegedly produced a sword. But the charges were dropped. In 2002, Bassi was arrested in Toronto with three other men for an alleged fraudulent scheme involving the use of fake credit cards and debit cards. All those charges were withdrawn against all four men. In 2005, Bassi was again charged with credit card offences and conspiracy, and those charges were also withdrawn. In 2011, Bassi was charged with refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test and possessing an unknown quantity of marijuana. Those charges were withdrawn.

Meamwhile, Bassi’s ex-wife, Sonia Chowdhry, in a statement through lawyer Rishi Singh Bhasin said that she was shocked about the shooting of her husband and was baffled.

The statement said that at no time did Bassi show any signs of mental health illness, suicidal ideas or religious fanaticism.

It added: “Mr. Bassi was a gentle and supportive father towards Mrs. Chowdhry’s daughter.” Bhasin read from the statement.

The Toronto Star said that the two married in July 2001 when Bassi was a factory worker. He later went into business with friends. They sold used cars and ran a cash-and-carry.

Divorce records showed that Bassi and Chowdhry officially split in 2008 and the divorce was finalized in October 2012. Chowdhry claimed her husband made $150,000 a year. He was paying $4,200 a month in child and spousal support to Chowdhry.