ASIRT Completes Investigation into CPS Officer-Involved Shooting

On October 31, 2014, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) was directed by the Director of Law Enforcement to investigate the circumstances surrounding a Calgary Police Service (CPS) officer-involved shooting that resulted in the death of a 30-year-old man.

On that date at approximately 2:08 a.m., CPS received a 911 call regarding a man in the hallway in front of a second floor suite at 433 Macleod Trail SE, who reportedly had a gun and had threatened another man in the building.

Four CPS officers responded and immediately set up containment points around the apartment suite. Two CPS officers were armed with C8 carbine rifles, one was armed with a shotgun, and the final officer was armed with his service pistol. The layout of this floor had all the apartments on the south side of the hallway, and four large alcoves running along the north side of the hallway with windows overlooking the building courtyard. The alcoves provided only limited cover for police officers, depending upon distance and angle.

Although attempts were made to establish telephone contact with the man, none were successful. What happened next transpired very quickly. Upon being advised that there were grounds for arrest, at the direction of an on-scene supervisor, the four police officers approached the suite in formation, knocked on the door, announced their presence, and backed away into the nearest alcove to a position of limited cover. From there, they awaited a response from anyone in the suite.

Almost immediately, a 30-year-old man exited the suite carrying what appeared to be a handgun in his right hand, holding it flat against his chest with the gun barrel pointed to his left, away from the officers. The man stood just outside the doorway of the suite facing the hallway, with the officers in an alcove to the man’s right.

As one of the officers yelled “gun,” the man turned to his right, and angled the barrel of the gun towards the officers. The officer closest to the suite, a distance of approximately 4.2 metres, fired his C8 rifle twice. One shot hit the man in his left torso, and the second shot hit the wall to the side of the suite door. The man retreated back into the suite partially closing the door. Only 38 seconds had elapsed between the time the officers approached and knocked on the door, to the firing of shots.

The officers called out and directed the man to exit the suite, but received no response. The suite was contained and upon the arrival of the CPS tactical team, a remote-controlled robot equipped with a camera was used to look inside. The camera showed the man lying motionless on the floor approximately 1.5 metres inside the suite. Tactical members entered and it was determined that the man was deceased.

The handgun the man had been holding was found beside his body, very close to his right hand. It was determined that the handgun was a Crosman “Walther PPK” CO2 powered pellet pistol, black in color, manufactured to resemble a Walther PPK semi-automatic pistol. Further examination showed that the pellet pistol was not in operating condition and was not capable of discharging projectiles.

The autopsy report confirmed the man died from a single gunshot wound to his left torso causing a fatal internal injury. It was also confirmed that at the time of the man’s death, he was under the influence of alcohol.

The investigation revealed that at approximately 1:30 a.m., the man had a confrontation with another resident from the apartment complex. The resident advised that the man had pulled out a handgun, “racked it” and pointed it at him. The resident retreated to his suite telling the man to go to bed or he would call the police. The resident did not report this incident to the police.

ASIRT Executive Director, Susan D. Hughson, Q.C., reviewed the completed ASIRT investigation in its entirety, and confirmed there are no reasonable grounds to believe the officer committed any offence. When the man pointed what appeared to be a handgun at police, the officer involved was faced with what appeared to be an immediate lethal threat and there were objectively reasonable grounds to believe that the use of lethal force was required to prevent imminent death or grievous bodily harm to both himself and the other officers on scene.

This finding in no way diminishes the sad fact that a family has lost a loved one. On behalf of ASIRT, the Executive Director extends condolences to the man’s family and friends.

ASIRT’s mandate is to effectively, independently, and objectively investigate incidents involving Alberta’s police that have resulted in serious injury or death to any person, as well as serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct.