On August 7, 2015, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) was directed by the Director of Law Enforcement to investigate the circumstances surrounding an RCMP officer-involved shooting in Edson, Alberta.
At 2:15 pm on that date, a 27-year old man attended the provincial building in Edson, acting very erratic, slurring his words, and carrying a jackknife. He made comments suggesting that if police were called he would kill himself. When he was told to leave because he had a knife, he said it was “for the police”. As the man walked out of the building, he said he was going to walk to the nearby highway and jump in front of a big truck. He also stabbed at the building walls with the jackknife, leaving gouges, as he walked out. Shortly before his attendance at the provincial building, the man had contacted family members and stated he was going to kill himself.
Police were called and upon arrival located the man on the lawn outside the provincial building close to the highway. The man, who was known to the officers, held a knife to his own throat and was muttering and mumbling to himself. The officers called out several times advising the man that he was under arrest and needed to drop the knife. When officers called out, his response was “took you guys long enough”. The man turned and began walking in the direction of the highway but ultimately stopped as a response to the officers repeated directions. He lowered the knife from his own neck and held it in front of him, facing the officers. He then advanced towards one of the officers with the knife, causing the officer to fire a single shot from his service pistol, striking the man in the upper body area causing him to fall to the ground. An officer and a nearby Alberta Sheriff immediately attended to the man until Emergency Medical Services arrived. He was taken to hospital where he underwent surgery. The man survived his injuries and was later released from hospital.
ASIRT Executive Director Susan D. Hughson, Q.C., received the completed investigation and after a careful review of the evidence has confirmed that the officers involved were acting lawfully and the use of force was reasonable and justified in all the circumstances.
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.