WATCH ABOVE: Some St. Albert residents say there were some scary moments in their neighbourhood Saturday, as RCMP searched for a shooting suspect. Jessica Kent reports.
EDMONTON — St. Albert residents are reeling following news that two Alberta Mounties were shot in a casino in the bedroom community northwest of Edmonton.
Those who live in the neighbourhood where the suspect was eventually found dead say there were some tense moments early Saturday morning, when they woke up to the sound of police sirens and a helicopter circling above their homes.
“Everything happened just at the end of our driveway,” said Daryl Zelinski. “There was probably about 13 cop cars, the big tactical unit, several SUVs … It was a pretty scary situation. We live in a quiet neighbourhood and we love living here and you never see this sort of stuff.”
RCMP initially responded to a report of a stolen vehicle, around 3 a.m. Saturday. Police went into the Apex Casino to search for the suspect when an altercation took place and two officers were shot.
The suspect fled the scene, but was tracked to a home on a rural property just southeast of the Sturgeon Valley Golf and Country Club. Once it was deemed safe, officers made their way into the home where the suspect was found dead.
Residents of the rural Sturgeon Heights neighbourhood, which is located on the east edge of St. Albert, say they were told by police to stay inside their homes while the situation unfolded.
Debbie Martin, who lives kitty corner from Zelinski, said she saw officers walking along the railroad tracks directly behind her home.
“One officer had the dog with him and the other officer had a rifle so we knew this was a very dangerous situation. We were well aware that we needed to stay in the house and just wait for further information,” she said. “It’s just very scary.”
“It was kind of like a lockdown situation. Doors were closed; windows, shutters were closed and none of the neighbours were outside, you couldn’t leave the area or get in,” added Albert Lacovone.
“It was a little eerie watching the helicopters circle around,” said Zelinski.
As a show of solidarity and appreciation for the two wounded Mounties, and all first responders, a group of St. Albert residents has asked people in the community to leave their porch lights on Saturday night.
“Even as they drive by tonight, they can know that the thoughts and goodwill of St. Albert are with them, a gleaming light in these dark hours,” reads a post on the Community of St. Albert Facebook page.
“As a community, we all of us can appreciate the value of the small town feel that this 60,000+ city holds dear; and where ever we disagree, we have seen many times that this community rallies together when our people are hurting.”
The wounded officers have been identified as RCMP Constable David Wynn, 42, and Auxiliary Constable Derek Bond, 49. Wynn joined the RCMP in 2009. He was said to be in grave condition Saturday afternoon. Bond has worked with the RCMP in a volunteer role since 2008. He was in serious but stable condition Saturday afternoon.