A day after police shot and wounded a man waving a gun at a busy intersection in north Edmonton, the city’s police union says it believes the incident was a case of someone hoping for police to shoot and kill them.
“Obviously, first thing that comes to mind after seeing that is ‘suicide by cop’ individual, who was obviously distraught for some reason, which is unfortunate,” said Bob Walsh, interim president of the Edmonton Police Association. “Once there’s something wrong with the individual, mentally or physically or whatever, it’s always difficult to be able to predict what was going to be the next actions or reactions of the individual.
“So our members always have to be apprehensive and be prepared or aware.”
At around 11:30 a.m. on Monday, police shot a man at the corner of 137 Avenue and 50 Street after responding to a weapons complaint.
“One caller indicated that they observed the male loading a weapon. Police officers were immediately dispatched to the scene,” Acting Deputy Chief Darren Derko said Monday. “Two officers saw a male pointing what appeared to be a long-barrel firearm at bystanders in the area. When the male observed the arriving police officers, he turned and pointed the firearm at them.”
At that point, police shot the man whom Global News has identified as Glenn “Occo” Ironchild, an Edmonton father with a lengthy criminal history. They said he was rushed to hospital with undisclosed injuries.
Watch below: For the second in time in less than a week, a man has been shot by Edmonton police. In this case, witnesses say the man was waving a gun at a busy intersection. Shallima Maharaj reports. WARNING: Graphic and disturbing content.
Ironchild posted pictures and videos to Facebook prior to the incident Monday morning in which he is seen crying and holding a rifle and talking about his family and saying he didn’t know if he would be coming back.
“It’s very stressful and very emotional on an individual,” Walsh said of the need for police to use potentially lethal force. “It’s draining – physically and mentally. Especially mentally.
“You never really want to go out there thinking in the morning when you get up, you’re going to work, ‘I’m going to shoot someone today.'”
Two police officers have been placed on mandatory administrative leave, as per Edmonton Police Service policy and both have been offered support. Walsh said he has spoken to the officer who wounded the suspect and said he is doing well.
While no other people were injured in the incident, Edmonton Transit Service said a bus was hit by a stray bullet while passengers were inside.
“During the incident, an ETS bus windshield was hit externally by a bullet,” ETS said in a statement Tuesday. “Thankfully, no one on board the bus was injured.
“Although this is a rare incident, ETS takes the safety of our operators and customers very seriously. ETS is providing counselling support to staff, if required.”
Monday’s shooting was the second time police officers fired their gun in less than a week. On Thursday, a 55-year-old man was shot and killed by an Edmonton police officer in the city’s southwest while attempting to conduct a traffic stop.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team is now investigating both officer-involved shootings.
“It’s been a couple of days that have been an eye-opener for the city,” Walsh said. “But the city is still safe. We go out, we do our daily job and we keep the public safe. Unfortunately, there will be some incidents.
“We’re a big city now, we’re not Edmonton of the 1890s. We’re a million-plus people now.”
-With files from Fletcher Kent and Caley Ramsay.
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