Calgary, AB,

Acting Chief's Statement - Officer-involved shooting

Below is the statement provided by Acting Chief Bob Ritchie about the officer-involved shooting that occured in southwest Calgary on Sept. 29, 2017:

Our members face dynamic situations every day where they have to decide very quickly how to preserve life and protect public safety in unpredictable and chaotic situations. Our officer’s actions are often determined by the behaviour of the subject or situation they are dealing with.

Our members do everything they can to resolve all situations peacefully with as little force as necessary. However, last night was one of those situations where use of force was used.

At approximately 8:10 p.m., our officers were called to a convenience store in the 4600 block of 37 Street S.W., in response to a call that a man in the store pulled a knife. Other people in the store feared for their safety and call 9-1-1.

Our members arrived, helped evacuate the store and contained the scene. During the course of our response, it appears that the suspect started a fire inside the store which created another hazard for himself, our members and the public as smoke quickly filled the building.

During this incident, our officers engaged in verbal communications to attempt to resolve the situation. However, they also found themselves in circumstances where they employed the use of tasers, a police canine and, at one point, the use of a Service firearm.

How and when these methods were used will form part of ASIRT’s investigation and we are fully cooperating with them in this task.

In total, our members were on scene for approximately 30 minutes before a firearm was discharged.

The man was taken to hospital with serious injuries. Three of our officers were examined on scene for smoke inhalation as a precaution and we now also know that one officer injured his hand during the incident.

There are currently two officers who are the focus of the ASIRT investigation, one has been a member for nine years and the other has been a member for 15 years.

They have both been placed on a standard 30-day administrative leave to give them time to process the incident in a healthy fashion before returning to work. This is a standard practice for any officer involved in a shooting. They have the full support of the Calgary Police Service.

We would also like to thank the Calgary Fire Department and EMS for their significant support during this incident. Their professionalism and strong working relationship with our officers were critical to protecting the public, our members and ultimately the suspect.

To respect the parameters of the ASIRT investigation, we are not able to provide further information on the incident and the actions of our officers.

We will provide all information necessary for ASIRT to conduct a thorough investigation that ensures public trust is maintained through transparency, accountability and effective oversight.