Witnesses asked to come forward after police shooting in downtown Calgary

WATCH ABOVE: ASIRT is now asking the public for help in piecing together exactly what happened in the moments before police shot a man in the downtown core on Saturday.The man is now in critical condition and as Carolyn Kury de Castillo reports, police say he was armed with a metal pipe.

CALGARY – The Alberta serious incident response team (ASIRT) is now asking the public for help in piecing together exactly what happened in the moments before police shot a man in the downtown core on Saturday.

The man is now in critical condition.

Police say he was armed with a metal pipe.

A group called Anti-Racist Action Calgary was holding its annual rally against racism to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination near City Hall, when the incident happened.

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What investigators need to know now, is what lead up to the incident.

“The dynamics of exactly what occurred in that alleyway are very important to determining what happened and to determining how appropriate use of force was,” Susan Hughson from ASIRT said.

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ASIRT is now investigating as it does for any officer-involved shooting or incident that result in injury or death.

Witnesses first saw the suspect at an anti-racism rally near city hall.

“We just had a small group of us here a little early and this white guy, head shaved walked by and he just yelled white power he yelled white power repeatedly,” Jason Divine said.

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The man started walking away quickly down Stephen Avenue as police approached him.

Then, an officer in a police car, joined by three recruits, spotted the man on Centre Street.

Police say he walked around the car and into an alley.

“The police officer exited his vehicle and began following the male. The three recruits also exited the vehicle but followed at a distance. The police officer caught up with the male.  There was brief physical contact.  We do know that the officer drew his baton which was recovered on scene,’ Calgary Police Chief Paul Cook said.

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Police say the man showed a 40 centimeter long metal pipe he had on him.

The officer then shot the man.

Calgary’s Police chief says ‘an officer in trouble’ call went out and one member was injured and treated on scene.

ASIRT is now looking for anyone who was near Centre Street and 8 Avenue Saturday morning.

They’re hoping witnesses like Jordan Cummings, who watched the shooting, will be able to help in the investigation.

“The officers drew their guns on him and fired three shots and then he collapsed to the ground and they handcuffed him and that was it,” Cummings said.

The man, who police say is known to them, was taken to hospital in critical condition.

Witnesses from the rally that have spoke with police, painted the picture of a violent outbreak.

People who were at the rally say a man approached them yelling “white power.” He then started walking west along Stephen Avenue.

“He was quite angry, yelling quite loud. And he spat on the ground. He didn’t do anything more he was just yelling at them,” said Ryan Wellicome, a SAIT journalism student who was at the rally. “He stood at the crosswalk and waited to cross the street and then as he went across the street the cops started to follow him and he started to pick up his pace. That was the last thing I noticed of him.”

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“We have experienced some violence at that rally in the past so our emergency management section had a very detailed plan to balance off police response with freedom of expression,” said Calgary Police chief Paul Cook.

“Men and women who are in law-enforcement have a very difficult and challenging task that at times can be violent. They have to rely on their training they have to rely on split-second decisions to preserve their life or to preserve the life of others,” Cook said.

“The police got out of a van that was already there and just started to walk towards him just, I think, to make sure he wasn’t going to get aggressive,” explained Sherry Walford, a Mount Royal University student who witnessed the man at the rally.”They weren’t chasing him initially. And then all of a sudden he turned around and took off running and then the police took off running after him.”

“We came down from our room. I was just looking out seeing what was going on, you could see everybody rushing up here, first responders in the van here and stuff so I was just curious as to what was going on and I looked over and happened to watch it all,” said Cummings.

ASIRT is asking the public to contact them if they have any information regarding their on-going investigation.

Witnesses at anti-racism rally being interviewed by police Saturday afternoon.
Witnesses at anti-racism rally being interviewed by police Saturday afternoon. Carolyn Kury de Castillo, Global News


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