Calgary, AB,

Seeking public assistance in arson attempts at Calgary school

The Calgary Police Service is seeking public assistance to identify suspects in relation to multiple arson attempts that occurred outside of regular school hours and on weekends at a southeast Calgary school.

On Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, at approximately 5:45 p.m., four male youths were observed to be attempting to light arrows on fire and shoot them against the south exterior of St. Isabella Elementary Junior High School, located at 855 Copperfield Blvd. S.E.

Three similar incidents were reported at the same school:

  • On Monday, Feb. 12, 2018, at approximately 3:30 p.m., police were called for reports of evidence located on school property to suggest there had been another arson attempt at an unknown time.
  • On Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, at approximately 6:30 p.m., a witness observed four male youths attempting to start a fire and contacted police.
  • On Friday, Feb. 23, 2018 at approximately 9:55 p.m., a witness observed two male youths flee from the scene after hearing glass break. The witness extinguished a small fire at the back of the school and called police.

It is believed that these incidents are connected to the first and that in the last three, the unknown youths mixed and used Molotov cocktails to start the fires.

A fifth incident occurred at a different school, McKenzie Lake School, located at 16210 McKenzie Lake Way S.E., on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2018, at approximately 9:55 p.m. Witnesses reported seeing four youth flee the area in a four-door sedan. Police are investigating whether or not this incident is connected.

Investigators have been working with school officials to identify potential suspects and ensure the safety of the students and staff attending both schools. Detectives have collected an extensive amount of CCTV from the area, however, have not been able to identify any suspects. Any businesses or citizens who have CCTV in the area of either school and who have not already provided footage to police are asked to contact investigators.

“This is a concerning situation that is putting people at risk,” says Acting Staff Sergeant Scott McCann of the Calgary Police Service General Investigations Unit. “Many different groups host extracurricular activities on school property outside of regular school hours. We’re asking anyone who has information about who is responsible to come forward. We encourage parents who live in the area to have conversations with their kids about these incidents. It is very likely that somebody knows something.”

Police are also looking to speak with anyone who has information about these arsons or about who may be committing them. Witness descriptions only indicate that the offenders are male youths and were wearing dark hoodies at the time of the offences.

Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to call police at 403-266-1234. Tips can also be left anonymously by contacting Crime Stoppers through either of the following methods:

TALK: 1-800-222-8477

Case # 18057881/5184