A Calgary police officer who shot and killed a man late Monday night was being robbed at knifepoint, sources tell Global News.
Sources said the officer was working undercover, in plain clothes as a part of a covert surveillance unit, when he was approached by a man who demanded money.
Sources said the officer tried to get the man to put down his knife and ended up in an altercation before firing his service weapon.
First aid was provided to the man but he died at the scene. Deputy chief Steve Barlow with the Calgary Police Service (CPS) said the man was in his late 20s and known to police.
The officer has been a member with the CPS for 11 years and was not injured.
“I feel for my officers and the risk they put themselves through every single day in their job,” Barlow said Tuesday. “We are a very large city… we are seeing more weapons on the street.”
Police confirm the incident happened at 11:30 p.m. in the area of 2 Avenue and 6 Street N.E. in the community of Bridgeland.
Anthony Sturgess lives across the street from where the shooting happened.
He told Global News he heard voices late Monday night.
“All of a sudden I just heard some arguing, some people are yelling,” he said.
Sturgess said at first he didn’t think much of the noise, as it is an inner-city area — but then the altercation seemed to escalate.
“Out of absolutely nowhere, I hear a single shot. There may have been more – but I didn’t hear more – I heard one.”
Sturgess said a few minutes later, he looked out his window and saw a huge police presence.
He stayed in his home — checking online for information.
“I was constantly checking online to see what the news said about it, then I saw the article that said a cop had fired.”
This is the second police shooting in Calgary in as many weeks. Calgary Police Association president Sgt. Les Kaminski said it’s a reflection of the dangers faced by officers on a daily basis.
“Every time one of these events happens, you have to understand every police officer comes to work hoping they don’t have to do what this officer had to do,” Kaminski said.
“They don’t want to have to use lethal force… it’s a reminder of what we might have to face each and every day that we go to serve the public.”
Kaminski echoed Barlow’s comments, suggesting police are seeing more guns on the streets than ever before.
“There’s no doubt that we are facing more and more guns. When I first started on this job a long time ago, to find a person with a gun was an anomaly, now it’s an everyday occurrence,” he explained.
“As a matter of fact, a lot of times, it doesn’t make the news. We find people… our criminal element now carries guns, it’s a given. Stolen vehicles have guns in them. Criminals use weapons to protect their territory and their profits – that’s all there is to it. So yes, it’s become more prevalent. We expect it now.
“I don’t think it indicates that things are getting worse that quickly, but there’s no doubt that there’s a violent surge out there, I think, for lack of a better word. We are dealing with more and more violent offenders.”
The officer involved in the shooting Monday night has been placed on a standard 30-day administrative leave “to give him time to process the incident in a healthy manner before returning to work,” the CPS said Tuesday afternoon.
“This leave is a standard practice for any officer involved in a shooting. The member involved in this incident has the full support of the Calgary Police Service.”
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team is now investigating.
With files from Jodi Hughes.