Professional Standards to launch investigation into inmate's escape from Toronto hospital
Andrew Smith, 36, is shown in this handout photo. Smith is wanted for escaping lawful custody at Mount Sinai Hospital. (Toronto Police Service)
Codi Wilson, CTV News Toronto
Published Thursday, March 16, 2017 7:23AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, March 16, 2017 7:28AM EDT
Toronto police say the service’s Professional Standards unit will be conducting an investigation after an inmate escaped from custody at a downtown hospital on Wednesday morning.
According to police, 36-year-old Andrew Smith managed to slip out of Mount Sinai Hospital at around 7 a.m. Wednesday without attracting the attention of nurses, doctors, officers or security personnel.
Police confirmed to CP24 Thursday that Smith, who was taken to hospital after complaining about a medical issue, was initially arrested for carrying a knife and uttering death threats directed at a University of Toronto security guard.
He fled from the hospital, police say, after receiving some type of treatment and was last seen on University Avenue.
The University of Toronto’s campus police service has issued a community alert, warning students that Smith has been known to frequent the St. George campus downtown.
“Toronto Police has requested our assistance locating this male. If you observe him, do not approach and call 911 and Campus Police at 416-978-2222,” the alert from campus police read.
The university police service also provided students with a number of safety tips.
“When travelling around campus, try and walk with a group of people,” the alert read. “If you cannot, avoid walking through isolated areas and be aware of your surroundings at all times.”
There have not been any sightings of Smith since he left the hospital Wednesday morning, investigators say.
Smith has been described by police as about five-feet-eleven, 130 lbs. with brown receding hair and eyeglasses. He was last seen wearing a navy blue sweater, brown pants and dark-coloured shoes.
Wednesday’s incident is not the first time a prisoner has escaped from custody at a downtown hospital.
In January, an inmate broke free from handcuffs and leg irons and fled Toronto General Hospital in a taxi.
He was recaptured by police officers about two weeks later after a lengthy foot chase in the city’s downtown core.
Toronto police spokesperson Meaghan Gray told CP24 that a professional standards investigation will review the actions of officers who were escorting Smith.
Pending the outcome of the investigation, the officers could potentially face disciplinary action, Gray added.
Investigators will also review police policies and procedures.
Gray said the professional standards investigation could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to complete.