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‘I shouldn’t have survived’: Lethbridge hostage-taking victim shares her story, blood drive


The scars on Kathryn Linder’s neck and body will be a reminder of how a normal day changed her life.

“It was just a normal Thursday afternoon at the office,” she said. “I was doing paper work and answering a few calls when she walked in and wanted to speak with one of our lawyers who wasn’t in.”            

Linder says once she and their practicum student said they could get the lawyer on the phone she asked to use the washroom.

“Our summer student took her back there to do that and she came out a few minutes later with a gun pointed at us and said I need to speak with him or I’m going to kill you both,” Linder recalled.

Linder tried phoning another organization where the lawyer was, when she was forced into an office at gun point.

“She closed the door, which would’ve happened for privacy sake, but when she pushed the two chairs up against the door my heart kind of stopped and I went oh, that’s not good,” Linder said.

Held there for an hour, Linder says a police negotiator called, but she was forced to hang up on him. A second call was made by the negotiator, but Linder said that didn’t change anything. She says the negotiator called a third time and Linder answered it and that’s when her attacker pointed the gun at her and told her to get on her knees and turn around.

“The next thing I knew she was standing in front of me pointing the gun at me,” Linder said. “She said get on your knees and turn around and I said ‘you don’t want to do this’ and she said it again so I stood up a little straighter because I was leaning against a file cabinet and I thought to myself if you’re going to hurt me, you’re going to look me in the eye and do it.”

Linder tried to fight her off by pushing on her chest. She let out a scream and that’s when two officers burst into the room.

“They pulled her off of me and the one officer kept his hand on my neck the whole time until we got into the ambulance where the paramedics were,” she said.

She was stabbed in the neck multiple times. Covered in blood, Linder was rushed to hospital and it took 56 stiches to mend her wounds.

“I remember looking at my thumb and seeing the cut, I then looked down and saw the blood on my shirt and all the files on the desk, but it really didn’t occur to me what all had happened,” Linder told CTV in an interview on Friday.

Linder doesn’t remember the ambulance ride to the hospital, but says she spent eight days in recovery.

Recounting on the incident, Linder says during that time in the office she remembers praying.

“I thought how is this going to play out? What comes next? Mostly just really calm, I was praying quite a lot because that’s how I get through every bad situation,” she explained.


Following the hostage taking, Linder’s best friend, Alana Wheeler, began planning a blood drive in honour of her.

“Knowing that she did lose a lot of blood, it was just one of those ironies I guess that we never know what’s going to happen and life is short and it’s such a good cause to donate blood,” Wheeler said.

Linder is an active donor and Wheeler thought the drive would be a great way to raise awareness of blood donations, while honouring her friend. The blood drive will take place from August 9 to 11 at the Lethbridge Plasma Donor Centre.

As for Linder, she’s expected to make a full recovery.

“Physically and mentally I’m going to recover because I’m strong,” she said. “Everyone has been asking if I need anything or if I need help, the support from my family and friends is overwhelming.”

Linder isn’t sure when she’ll return to work, but says she’s grateful for everyone who helped her.

“Those two officers that were in there first saved my life without a doubt, I have to credit my faith and God, I shouldn’t have survived that,” Linder said.

Courtney Louise Shaw is charged with attempted murder. She remains in custody until her court date on Sept. 1.

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