EXCLUSIVE: Man, 21, dead after blast led police to car packed with explosives in Sherwood Park
UPDATE: The 21-year-old suspect has been identified. Read more here.
An explosion led police to a car packed with explosives and a man with severe injuries in Sherwood Park Tuesday night, Global News has learned. The 21-year-old man died of his injuries, RCMP confirmed in a Wednesday afternoon news conference.
Security sources told Global News the explosive material was believed to be Tannerite, a brand of binary explosive targets used for firearms practice. Sources said a ‘”significant… very large” amount of Tannerite was found in the car. Sources described this as a “homemade” vehicle-borne improvised explosive device.
Watch below: Global News has learned a deadly explosion triggered a major police response in Sherwood Park, Alberta on Tuesday night. As Mercedes Stephenson reports, a man was found inside a car filled with explosives.
Sources told Global News police were alerted to the vehicle at the Strathcona County civic office when a loud “bang” was heard from inside a nearby parking garage.
A man was found at the scene with severe, life-threatening injuries. He was taken to hospital where he later died, RCMP said, adding his injuries “were not related to police interaction.”
Watch below: It took almost 21 hours for police to provide any significant information about what happened at a Sherwood Park garage on Tuesday night. Tom Vernon reports on the frustration felt by some about the lack of information about the explosions.
Sources told Global News police believe the car belonged to the man.
Sources said the incident is not believed to be a national security event, but said motive was not yet known.
“We don’t yet have a motive for this incident. That is certainly part of the investigation,” RCMP Supt. Dave Kalist said Wednesday afternoon.
Watch below: Police now confirm two bombs exploded in a Sherwood Park parking garage on Tuesday night. Fletcher Kent has the latest.
The incident started at around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, when Strathcona County RCMP responded to a fire at the Sherwood Park complex housing the community centre, county hall and library.
RCMP confirmed Wednesday afternoon there were two separate explosions in the parkade, one before police were called to the scene and another at around 8:15 p.m. Police said the 21-year-old man was located in a car in the parkade shortly after the first blast.
“The cause and origin of these explosions is still under investigation,” Kalist said.
RCMP stressed they are not looking for any further suspects. No other injuries were reported.
Watch below: RCMP Supt. Dave Kalist said it’s possible charges could be laid. Mayor Rod Frank also thanks the RCMP and emergency responders for their work.
Police said the RCMP’s explosive disposal unit will remain at the scene until they are able to confirm the cause of the explosions and ensure there are no other potential threats.
Kalist said with the information available to police on Wednesday afternoon, it’s believed the incident is “localized to the county hall complex and there is no further risk to the public.”
Strathcona County Mayor Rod Frank was in the community centre building at the time of the incident.
“I did witness smoke and fire in the aftermath. Obviously, this could have been far more tragic and I’m grateful to the rapid and professional response of our emergency responders and the RCMP to minimize the risk to our residents.
“While these unprecedented explosions have rocked our close-knit community, I know our community will overcome this isolated incident. It is impossible to know the motivation for this desperate action. I can tell you that I have full confidence in the RCMP’s investigative ability to uncover these important answers.”
Watch below: The mayor of Strathcona County was inside the community centre when the first explosion occurred. He said the community was “rocked” by the events.
The RCMP and county officials remained tight-lipped about the investigation overnight and well into Wednesday. Until the 3:30 p.m. MT news conference, RCMP would only say they responded to a report of a fire at the community centre.
Global News spoke to residents in the area earlier Wednesday who expressed concerns with the lack of information surrounding the heavy police presence. Kalist said while the lack of information may have been frustrating, “it was critical in order to ensure safety and that the facts released were correct.”
Watch below: Strathcona County Mayor Rod Frank, RCMP Supt. Dave Kalist, and director of Emergency Services and Fire Chief Jeff Hutton release few details during 11:30 a.m. MT news conference in Sherwood Park.
Sherwood Park is a bedroom community located on the eastern outskirts of Edmonton.
Officers from both the RCMP and the Edmonton Police Service’s emergency response teams were at the scene Tuesday night and police wearing flak jackets entered the building with large guns drawn. Firefighters could also be seen outside the building.
The Strathcona County Community complex — which includes the county hall and library — as well as Vicky’s Bistro and Wine Bar, Festival Place, St Theresa School and Salisbury Composite High School remained closed on Wednesday as police continued to investigate.
Later on Wednesday, St. Theresa Catholic School posted an update on its website to say it would remain closed on Thursday because of the ongoing investigation. The school added that its School Central Learning Services Building would also be closed and that all extra-curricular activities at the school have been cancelled. Salisbury Composite High School also said it will be closed on Thursday as well as the bus transfer station at the school.
“It is important to know the decision to close the school was based solely on the need to keep the [police] scene at the community centre free and clear so the RCMP could continue their important investigation — at no time was there a risk to either staff or students from Salisbury Composite High,” Elk Island Public Schools Supt. Mark Liguori said in a news release. “The situation was contained completely within the adjacent county buildings.
“While we understand this represents a disruption for many of our school families, it’s imperative the police have time to do their work, and the county has time to undertake the measures necessary to restore service and its facilities.”
Frank said the community centre and county hall buildings will remain closed until further notice. Updates on the closures can be found on the county’s website.
Watch below: A major police presence was seen outside a library in Sherwood Park, Alta., on Tuesday night. The RCMP only said there were “safety concerns” after a fire in the area.
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.