May 13, 2014 4:55 pm

‘All hell broke loose’ during arrest of murder suspect, says Edmonton police chief


EDMONTON – Edmonton’s police chief says his officers “took the necessary steps” when a homicide suspect exchanged gunfire with them during his arrest and was killed Sunday.

Police had been following the suspect since shortly after he allegedly shot and killed another man. Knecht said they decided to arrest him on an outstanding warrant and chose a location with the “least risk.”

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“When we went to effect that arrest, obviously, all hell broke loose.”

Police were executing the arrest warrant in the area of 53 Avenue and 149A Street at about 8:30 p.m. Sunday when they exchanged gunfire with the suspect.

“We had tactical involved because of the nature of the individual’s background and the potential that it was going to be a high-risk take-down,” the chief explained. “We try to minimize any kind of a take-down, we try to make it as safe as we possibly can, and that’s why he was taken down where he was taken down, at the point of time that he was taken down, as it was considered to be the least amount of risk to the community and the individual.”

“Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.”

The suspect – who sources say was 24-year-old David Charles Sandaker, wanted in connection to the April 26 homicide of Michael Alan Hill – died at the scene.

A member of the EPS tactical team was also shot and is recovering in hospital.

The officer is doing well after an operation Monday, Knecht said. “[His] lower leg was operated on yesterday morning — a relatively successful operation. I understand there are some complications, and that’s why he’s still in hospital.”

Knecht said he could provide few details about the situation now that ASIRT is investigating, but wants to reassure residents.

“The public need not be concerned. These don’t happen very often obviously — very rarely does it happen. Unfortunately, it did happen and it was somewhat out of our control.”

“The unpredictability of an individual that was wanted on a homicide warrant.”

“Our people are very well trained, they’re professional, they took the necessary steps they had to under the circumstances,” he added. “This individual was armed, he returned fire, and obviously he was neutralized… ASIRT will get to the bottom of the nuances of the investigation.”

WATCH: Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht discusses Sunday’s officer-involved shooting

On Monday, the president of the Edmonton Police Association told Global News that police have seen an increase in the use of weapons and in resistance.

“In the last five to ten [years], the amount of weapons on the street, the amount of resistance that we see as police officers to comply with police in any situation, but particularly arrests, has increased,” said Sgt. Tony Simioni.

“The amount of gun incidents, the amount of people who are willing to shoot or use vehicles towards officers as they try to escape, has markedly increased, and that’s a concern.”

Knecht echoed that statement on Tuesday.

“We are certainly seeing more guns out there, there’s no question about that. There was a time — I’m going to say 15 years ago — it was a rarity when you did a search, or when you arrested an individual, or when you stopped a car, it was a rarity to find somebody with a gun.

“Today, it’s a regular occurrence to find a handgun or a weapon in the house and it’s more frequent to find a vehicle with a weapon in it and an individual with a weapon on them.”

“Are there more high-risk take-downs taking place? Absolutely.”



© Shaw Media, 2014

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