Watch above: police release dramatic rescue video and tools used to diffuse tense standoff
SASKATOON – Tense moments from last Friday’s stand-off including police rescuing five people who had to take cover from an armed gunman are now being released to the public.
On Thursday, the Saskatoon Police Service released two videos, portions of footage taken on Aug. 22 of a stand-off on Coppermine Crescent after police responded to a domestic dispute call.
“He just fired shots in the back here again.”
Minute by minute aerial footage is captured by the Air Support Unit (ASU) flying in a Cessna 182 above, as police respond to a barricaded man armed with a rifle.
The one video, less than two-and-a-half minutes long shows breath-taking moments as police heroically rescue three adults and two children under the age of 10 from behind a vehicle as the man fires shots from inside.
“What sticks with me from that call that day was seeing the absolute sheer terror on the faces of the kids and the female especially and the relief on that I felt when we could safely use the Bearcat to get them out of harms way,” said Saskatoon police Sgt. Ken Kane, a member of the tactical support unit.
Shots were fired at responding police officers who could have lawfully used deadly force at the time.
“In this particular situation based on how he was set up in the residence we weren’t able to,” said Kane.
Continuing into night fall, those on the ground during the stand-off would utilize their ‘eye in the sky’, retrieving information even visuals from the pilot and spotter.
The ASU would be instrumental in this case since officers on the ground could not see three sides of the home including the back door.
“Any of the officers you could see little heat signatures around the property, had that individual come out we didn’t really have a good opportunity to have eyes on him and the aircraft is able to do that so it protects the city and the tactical support unit deployed to circumstances like this,” said Saskatoon police Sgt. Wade Bourassa, a member of the air support unit.
At 10 p.m., approximately three hours after the stand-off began, the negotiator successfully talked the active shooter out of the house.
“No one got hurt, civilians or police including the suspect,” said Kane.
Police credit the officers, the Air Support Unit for the peaceful conclusion as well as the $350,000 armoured rescue vehicle saying they want the public to know that it did what it was designed to do.
“This vehicle saved lives and that they can physically see it, what this vehicle is capable of so that they understand why the expenditure went there and it’s not just something that we want out of interest it’s something that has a very vital role in the job that we do,” stated Kane.
This isn’t the first time the Bearcat has been used. The week before the armoured rescue vehicle was used during a 13 hour stand-off on Avenue O South.
Police say prior to purchasing the Bearcat there was increased exposure of risk to officers.
“We would try and hide behind vehicles and trees or we had shields but this vehicle has drastically changed how we can conduct business to make it so much safer when we go to these calls that it’s hard to fathom how we used to do it.”
The suspect in this latest stand-off, 37-year old Kevin Levandoski now faces the following charges:
Police say the surveillance videos will be submitted in a court of law as evidence.