RCMP Officer’s Actions Justified in Officer-involved Shooting

On May 1, 2016, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) was directed by the Director of Law Enforcement to investigate the circumstances surrounding an officer-involved shooting that occurred in an apartment complex at 5017-49 Street in Red Deer.

On that date, at approximately 7 p.m., RCMP dispatch received a 911 call from a 28-year-old man who indicated he was armed with a loaded handgun and ammunition, wanted to end his life, and would shoot anyone who came to his door.

While officers immediately responded, another officer called the man on his cell phone and requested he peacefully exit his residence unarmed so he could get the help he needed. The man failed to listen, and when officers arrived on scene, they entered the complex and proceeded to the relevant floor, stepping out into a vestibule. One officer moved into the hallway and immediately saw a man holding a handgun. The man raised the handgun, pointing it towards the officer and the vestibule where the other officers were standing. The officer, located in the hallway, immediately discharged his police service weapon striking the man, who then fell to the ground. Once disarmed, the man was provided with emergency medical care. Emergency Medical Services arrived, treated and transported the man to hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries. The man sustained a single gunshot wound to his left shoulder.

Upon examination, it was determined that the handgun the man possessed was in fact a Crossman revolver-style CO2 pellet gun, one that would best be described as a realistic-looking replica handgun. It was also confirmed that the pellet gun was not loaded at the time of the incident.

ASIRT Executive Director, Susan D. Hughson, Q.C., received the completed ASIRT investigation and after a careful review of the evidence has confirmed that the officers involved were lawfully placed and in the lawful execution of their duties. An officer is entitled to use lethal force where there are reasonable grounds to believe a person presents a risk of grievous bodily harm or death to the officer or another person. In this case, the man had advised police he was in possession of a loaded handgun and indicated he would shoot police or himself. When he confronted the officer in the hallway, he raised and pointed the handgun at the officer and in the direction of other officers. The physical evidence from the scene, the corresponding video, the statements of the witness officers, the subject officer, and the 28-year-old man, all lead to the inescapable conclusion that the officer faced a split-second decision to use lethal force or risk serious injury or death to himself and his fellow officers from what appeared to be a deadly threat. The use of force in this case was reasonable and justified.

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.