ASIRT Concludes Investigation into RCMP Officer-involved Shooting

On Dec. 1, 2015, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) was directed by the Director of Law Enforcement to enter into an investigation into the circumstances surrounding an officer-involved shooting involving a 19-year-old man.

On that date, officers of the RCMP Emergency Response Team, along with RCMP negotiators, attended a rural residence, 45 km northeast of Edson on Range Road 134, to arrest the man in relation to a homicide investigation. Officers were strategically positioned around the residence, with two specifically placed on the southwest side of the home. The man was a known firearm enthusiast, and believed to have firearms in the residence.

While negotiators were preparing to make contact with the man in the house, he exited the south side of the home carrying a bolt-action rifle with a scope. The man fired one shot towards the two officers on the southwest side that resulted in one of the officers immediately discharging his police service weapon in response. Neither officer was struck; however, the 19-year-old man sustained a single gunshot wound to his head. Officers immediately provided the man with medical attention, and upon the arrival of emergency medical services, paramedics treated him and transported him to the Edson hospital. Once stabilized, STARS Air Ambulance flew the man to an Edmonton hospital, where he underwent multiple surgeries. He was released from hospital on Dec. 23, 2015, and remanded into police custody on his outstanding charges.

ASIRT Executive Director Susan D. Hughson, Q.C., received the completed ASIRT investigation, and after a careful review of the evidence has confirmed there are no reasonable grounds, nor reasonable suspicion, to believe the officer committed any criminal offences in relation to this matter.

Force intended to cause death or grievous bodily harm is only justified if the officer believes, on reasonable grounds, that the force was necessary to prevent the death or grievous bodily harm of the officer and/or any other person.

Based on the evidence obtained, the 19-year-old man fired upon the officers. In these circumstances, it was more than reasonable to believe, subjectively and objectively, that the two officers in the line of fire were at risk of death or grievous bodily harm and that the use of lethal force was necessary. As such, the officer’s use of lethal force, having regard to the protections provided in the Criminal Code, was permissible and did not constitute a criminal offence.

As these matters are now before the courts, ASIRT will not provide any further details in relation to this investigation.

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.