On January 6, 2015, the Director of Law Enforcement directed the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of a 55-year old man.
On the evening of January 5, 2015, RCMP officers from the Two Hills RCMP Detachment were called to a residence in Andrew, Alberta to remove an intoxicated man from a woman’s residence. The woman had fled the residence after a confrontation with the man.
Upon arrival, RCMP officers noted that the house had no lights on. While they were preparing to enter into the house, the man was spotted in a window. An officer shone his flashlight at the window and told the man he was under arrest. The man came to the front door and yelled “If you come in here I am going to kill you” and then went back into the house.
As the man was known to police and had been involved in a previous incident involving firearms, the RCMP officers moved to safety and called in more police officers and the Emergency Response Team. As police officers surrounded the house, the man came to the front door a second time and yelled at them to call the “SWAT” team, helicopters and dogs. The man was told that he was under arrest and to come out of the residence, to which the man responded “Kill me, kill me”. At one point the man did come out of the house carrying a long-edged knife and a newspaper but shortly thereafter went back into the home. He was last seen at 10:33 p.m. when he came out again, threw a jacket onto the porch and demanded to speak with the woman who had called police.
From 9:30 p.m. to 3:28 a.m. the next day, the RCMP were unsuccessful in their continual attempts to negotiate the man’s peaceable surrender. At 5:30 a.m., RCMP entered the house and found the man deceased on the hallway floor near the front door.
On January 7, 2015, an autopsy was completed. It was determined that the man died as a result of drug and alcohol toxicity. The concentration of alcohol in his blood was more than three times over the legal limit to operate a motor vehicle, and he also had very high elevated levels of morphine and cyclobenzaprine, a pain reliever and muscle relaxant, in his system at the time of his death.
ASIRT’s Executive Director, Mrs. Susan D. Hughson, Q.C., conducted a careful review of the investigation in its entirety. Mrs. Hughson confirmed that the death of the man was the result of the voluntary use of drugs and alcohol in a lethal combination and that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that RCMP officers committed any offences that caused or contributed to his death.
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.