30-hour police standoff in Calgary ends, armed suspect shot dead

Click to play video: 'Armed suspect dead after 30-hour standoff in Calgary'
Armed suspect dead after 30-hour standoff in Calgary
WATCH: An armed standoff in Calgary has entered its second day. It began when police executed a search warrant at a Penbrooke Meadows home when shots were fired. Meghan Cobb reports – Mar 16, 2024

A standoff between Calgary police and an armed man in the southeast community of Penbrooke Meadows came to an end Friday night and officials confirmed the suspect is dead.

According to police, the situation in the 300 block of Penswood Way Southeast began Thursday afternoon and escalated around 8:30 p.m. Friday. Shots were fired by officers, including members of the tactical team.

The suspect did not survive the shooting.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team will investigate the matter.

Displaced residents from neighbouring homes have been permitted to return and roads in the area reopened late Friday as the risk to public safety had ended.

“This is an unfortunate outcome, but our top priority was always the safety of the community. We’ve made every effort to bring this to a safe and peaceful conclusion, and have employed numerous tactics and resources over the duration of this prolonged event,” Calgary Police Service Chief Mark Neufeld said in a news conference early Saturday morning.

Story continues below advertisement
Emergency responders are seen at the corner of Memorial Drive and Penbrooke Drive Southeast on March 14, 2023. Police advised local residents shelter in place and others avoid the area during a shooting incident. Global News

The Calgary Police Service first shared news of the active incident in the north part of the Penbrooke Meadows neighbourhood on social media late Thursday.

The CPS tactical unit was executing a search warrant related to a firearms investigation at around 3:30 p.m. on Thursday. Police said prior to entering the home, shots were fired in the direction of the officers at the scene.

“We currently have multiple police resources on scene and have contained the suspect residence,” police posted on social media at 4:45 p.m. Thursday.

According to police, there were several people in the home when the tactical unit arrived and all of those who were not involved in the investigation were safely removed as police asked the suspect to surrender.

In the early evening, police could be heard on loudspeakers trying to negotiate with a person inside the home, encouraging him to come out or call 911 if he was injured.

Story continues below advertisement

The incident continued throughout Friday, with police first trying a number of non-lethal tactics, including negotiation and other devices.

Armoured vehicles were seen parked near a home on Friday.

That afternoon, smoke was seen in the area as officers in tactical gear were seen nearby, monitoring the situation with a police dog. Bangs and pops were also heard on Friday.

Click to play video: 'Criminal justice expert analyzes Calgary police operation'
Criminal justice expert analyzes Calgary police operation

On Saturday, Neufeld said police officers at the scene were determining tactics and negotiations based on the information they have at the time.

Get the day's top news, political, economic, and current affairs headlines, delivered to your inbox once a day.

Get daily National news

Get the day's top news, political, economic, and current affairs headlines, delivered to your inbox once a day.
By providing your email address, you have read and agree to Global News' Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

“This was a tremendously dynamic situation that posed immense risk to the surrounding community and to our officers. I’m extremely proud of the efforts of our members who worked to de-escalate the situation and to encourage a safe and voluntary surrender, again, over a protracted period of more than 30 hours,” Neufeld said.

Story continues below advertisement

“Many residents in the surrounding area have been displaced. If you were impacted by this situation, I want to thank you for your patience and your understanding. These are never easy. I understand the stress that this incident incidents like this can cause for residents and their families, and just know that we’ve taken all reasonable steps to minimize impacts and to support the community throughout this ordeal.”

One of the biggest challenges was de-escalating the standoff safely and peacefully, Neufeld said. He added he is “satisfied” that CPS officers did a good job.

“Remember, you know, from the outset of this incident, we were dealing with individuals or an individual who was armed, with high powered weapons. And so that certainly, adds an element of complexity and danger to situations like this,” the police chief said.

Story continues below advertisement

Time not on their side

The extended standoff was unusual, according to one law enforcement veteran.

“Beyond 24 hours is unusual. It has happened, but it’s unusual,” Joel Johnston, who had a 28-year career in policing and specialized in emergency response with the Vancouver Police Department, told Global News.

Johnston said fatigue can set in for both sides as the hours accumulate.

Lauding the CPS emergency response team and negotiators, he said police have plans to relieve members to allow for rest.

“Time also gives the subject things to do in that premises. For instance, he can place booby traps,” Johnston said. “So time is not always on the side of the police.”

The retired Vancouver police officer said a non-response from the person holed up is a type of response, and police have a variety of tactics they can use to keep police and civilians safe.

Story continues below advertisement

“This person will decide what the outcome is. He’ll either hunker down, he’ll force a confrontation, or he’ll surrender. And obviously, the police have to be as patient as they can be,” Johnston said.

Calgary Emergency Management Staff sit at a desk at Village Square Leisure Centre on March 15, 2024. Global News

Residents return home

On Friday, the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA)  opened an information centre at nearby Village Square Leisure Centre, located at 2623 56nd Street Northeast.

Story continues below advertisement

“If you are impacted by the Penbrooke Meadows incident and need access to services, the centre will offer snacks, water, showers, phone/device charging, emotional health support and additional information as it becomes available,” police said on social media.

Several residents in the neighbourhood said they were relieved that the standoff is over.

Cherie Zimmerman’s home was evacuated on Friday, and her family was able to return on Saturday. She said she’s seen the person involved in the standoff but didn’t know him personally.

She said she wasn’t surprised that the police were involved because there would be a lot of fights and arguments at the property.

“I’m relieved. Nobody else got hurt. There wasn’t damage to anybody’s place,” said Zimmerman.

Paul Bedford said he could hear the standoff from down the street. Police were using loudspeakers and he could hear the gunshots, so he and his family decided to stay at a friend’s place for the night.

He told Global News he’s glad the standoff is over but sad about the outcome.

“We thought it was pretty long drawn out, but it’s for the safety of the residents in the neighbourhood,” Bedford said. “(The police) did their job.”

Story continues below advertisement

–with files from Ryan White and Paula Tran, Global News.

Click to play video: 'Calgary police issue shelter in place warning'
Calgary police issue shelter in place warning

Sponsored content