Editor’s note: This story originally stated one of the stolen vehicles allegedly fled through the river valley after the innocent man was shot. This story has been updated to reflect that police say the vehicle was in the river valley before the shooting.
One man is in hospital with life-threatening injuries after what Edmonton police are calling a “complex” overnight investigation.
It all started at around 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday. Police were called about a possible home invasion and kidnapping at a home in the area of 106 Avenue and 123 Street. Two men were reportedly abducted at gunpoint, assaulted and robbed by a group of people. The two were able to escape with only minor injuries.
At around 10:30 p.m., police spotted a stolen vehicle that was suspected to have been involved in the kidnapping. Police said that vehicle then met with another vehicle – later found to have been stolen from Fort Saskatchewan.
Watch below: On March 29, 2018, Kent Morrison filed this report an Edmonton man is still fighting for his life in hospital after being shot in what police are calling a criminal rampage. Kent Morrison reports.
Watch below: It’s a violent crime spree in the Edmonton area that includes a home invasion, robbery, kidnapping and assault. Quinn Ohler has more on what led to an ‘innocent bystander’ being shot.
Both vehicles then then headed north on Manning Drive, north of 153 Avenue, at some points doing in excess of 140 kilometres per hour, according to police, when one of the stolen vehicles reportedly cut off a third vehicle. Police were tracking the vehicles with their Air 1 helicopter.
At one point, according to Clark, one of the vehicles escaped capture by driving down a path in Rundle Park, under Yellowhead Trail and out through Hermitage Park. Edmonton police would not confirm at exactly what point in Air1’s pursuit the suspects fled through the parks.
Both vehicles continued speeding north on Manning to the intersection at 18 Street. There, the driver who was cut off stopped and was going to turn left when one of the stolen vehicles pulled up beside him and someone in the vehicle shot the man. He lost control of his vehicle and veered into the ditch of Manning Drive and 18 Street.
Watch below: Police are working on what they call a “complex investigation” involving a number of crimes
Homicide detectives have been called in because police do not expect the man who was shot to survive. Staff Sgt. Bill Clark told media on Wednesday afternoon that the 38-year-old man was in hospital on life support.
After the shooting, the two stolen vehicles continued towards Gibbons, where they were stopped with the assistance of Edmonton police’s Air 1 helicopter, canine and tactical unit, northeast division officers and members of the Fort Saskatchewan RCMP.
Watch below: Staff Sgt. Bill Clark said a man shot in a crime spree Tuesday night is not expected to survive
Five people were taken into custody. Clark said they were a combination of juveniles and adults.
Officers seized a number of firearms from several scenes.
A Global News photographer was on scene in the area of 18 Street and Manning Drive early Wednesday morning and could see a blue SUV in a field with all doors open. Police tape was surrounding the vehicle. There were tracks visible in the snow.
Police remained on scene over the noon hour, taking pictures of the vehicle and removing items from inside.
Suspects known to police
Clark told media that all five suspects are known to police.
“This is just a group that hangs together and commits crimes together.”
The names of the suspects have not been released, as charges haven’t been laid yet. Clark said some charges related to the stolen vehicles and the firearms that were found were expected to be laid on Wednesday night.
Watch below: Suspects involved in dangerous Edmonton crime spree well-known to police
It’s not believed that all of the suspects were involved in the home invasion – which Clark described as a “drug deal gone bad.”
“Some of these individuals are simply out of control,” Clark said.
“We need to keep these individuals in jail for a long period of time or we’re just going to keep arresting them.”
All suspects remain in custody.
Choosing to pursue
According to Clark, it is a tough choice for police to decide whether to pursue a suspect vehicle. Officers have to be aware of the safety of the public, but also can’t let the wanted vehicle drive too dangerously.
“The members on the streets don’t want to get involved in pursuits. But when one is started, it’s started by the other driver and they want to stop it. It’s very tough and they have to be very disciplined when they’re told not to pursue,” he said.
“In this case, it was just handled very well, extremely well, and we were able to bring it to a conclusion before other people were hurt. Unfortunately, we have a male now who probably won’t survive his injuries, all due to these individuals.”
Watch below: EPS Staff Sgt. Bill Clark said public safety has to be the number one consideration when police decide whether or not to pursue a suspect vehicle. It comes after a violent overnight crime spree in Edmonton.
Clark added that the balance is even more challenging because criminals have realized that police in many jurisdictions won’t pursue, so drivers begin to “push the envelope.”
Police said footage from the Air 1 helicopter of the takedown is expected to be released at some point Wednesday.