An Edmonton police officer who shot a man pointing a rifle at vehicles in a busy northeast intersection last year was doing what was necessary and reasonable, according to the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team.
On March 13, 2017, police received several 911 calls about a man pointing a long-barrel firearm at people and vehicles in the area of 137 Avenue and 50 Street.
“Some reported fearing for their lives, expressing they might die as they were essentially gridlocked with no place to go,” read a media release from ASIRT on Friday.
The first two officers on scene were forced out of their vehicles due to the traffic jam. One of the officers took cover behind a nearby vehicle, while the other went to a grassy area about 30 metres from the intersection.
ASIRT said the suspect “dropped down into a stable, low shooting position, looked through the scope of his firearm and pointed it at police.” When one of the officers ordered the man to drop his weapon, he didn’t do it.
After the suspect once again pointed the weapon at police, one of the officers shot him. The man fell to the ground.
WATCH BELOW: A man holding a firearm was shot by Edmonton police in March 2017. WARNING: This video appears to show the incident unfolding and is disturbing. Global News has edited the video to remove footage of the man being shot.
ASIRT, which was called in to investigate the officers’ actions, said the entire ordeal lasted less than four minutes.
In its decision, ASIRT pointed to the Criminal Code which states “a police officer is permitted to use as much force as is reasonably necessary in the lawful execution of their duties.”
“In this case, it is clear that the armed man presented an immediate lethal threat to a large number of people in the area,” read ASIRT’s decision released Friday.
“He was pointing his firearm indiscriminately at civilians and police. Both officers on scene had the lawful ability and duty to protect both the public and themselves, and were permitted to use reasonably necessary force to do so.
“Concern is often raised with how an officer-involved shooting can occur in such a high-traffic location. Police officers did not choose that location, nor did they create the circumstances requiring the use of lethal force. In this situation, any response other than the use of lethal force would have allowed time for the man to shoot and presented an unacceptable risk to the lives of the many people trapped in this harrowing event.”
In March 2018, Glenn Justin Ironchild was sentenced to four years and six months in jail. With credit for time served, Ironchild had 35 months remaining on his sentence, which also included a lifetime firearms ban and a $1,200 fine.