The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team is investigating an officer-involved shooting south of Leduc, Alta., Wednesday morning that left a 27-year-old man dead.
An RCMP officer suffered serious, but non-life-threatening injuries in the ordeal that started in Blackfalds, Alta., and ended along the QEII Highway just south of Edmonton.
At around 8:15 a.m., RCMP were called to a firearms complaint at a house in Blackfalds, a town of just over 9,000 people located about 15 minutes north of Red Deer.
RCMP said when officers arrived, “more shots were fired outside of the residence towards the RCMP vehicles.”
A woman, who police said was not related to the incident, was shot. She was taken to hospital with serious injuries.
Police said a man involved in the incident drove away from the scene and headed north on the QEII.
Officers deployed a spike belt and a brief pursuit followed, RCMP said in a media release Wednesday afternoon.
The suspect vehicle crossed the median and continued driving north in the southbound lanes of the highway that connects Calgary and Edmonton.
The vehicle eventually came to a stop where police said a “confrontation occurred” that resulted in the death of the 27-year-old man.
Several marked and unmarked police vehicles, as well as an ambulance and fire truck, were on scene along the QEII Highway near the exit to Highway 2A late Wednesday morning.
A tent was set up on the side of the road; underneath, a tarp was covering something. What appeared to be a weapon could be seen on the ground outside of an RCMP vehicle.
Chad Cammock said he was driving south on the QEII out of Leduc around 9:40 a.m. when he saw a police vehicle come down the southbound lanes.
“I kind of made out that there was a black car coming. It looked different at the front, no rubber left on the car. I thought, ‘Oh that’s weird.’ All of a sudden, he turns sideways. Just as I got stopped. Windows were up and you don’t hear a lot, they were about 100 yards away.”
That’s when Cammock said he heard gunshots.
“I’m a hunter, so I know what gunfire sounds like when you’re in a range and I hear, ‘Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.'”
Cammock said he saw an officer kneeling on the ground.
“As soon as the gunfire, kinda, everyone swarmed into the car, they went right to that officer… I just hope that officer is OK.
“The mind was going everywhere. You’re driving and saying, ‘Holy smokes, that just happened right in front of us.'”
Dale Slater also witnessed the incident. He was driving south on the highway just past Leduc when he saw a black vehicle and several RCMP vehicles coming north in the southbound lanes. He immediately pulled over.
“As they were coming just under the bridge overpass for Highway 2A, the car spun sideways. I don’t know if it was him who initiated it or if the police pushed him sideways or whatnot, but the car spun sideways and there was some smoke and stuff from the tires and then the car was kind of pinned there by four or five other units that surrounded him.”
Slater said the officers got out of their vehicles and surrounded the black car. That’s when he heard gunshots.
“We couldn’t see who shot or anything like that but we could hear gunshots go off. There were a bunch of successions, again, I don’t know how many… It was multiple though, definitely more than four or five.”
He said everything unfolded within two to three minutes.
Sheldon Ward lives in the Corinthia Park area of Leduc, which is about 150 metres from the highway.
“I heard some emergency vehicles and then I saw the police helicopter in the air, circling for quite some time. Then I heard a series of gunshots,” he said.
He said he went outside to see what was going on and saw “a lot of commotion.”
“I went to where everything was and there were numerous police vehicles. There was the fire department, two ambulances and just a big commotion,” he said, adding he went back home shortly after that.
The QEII was shut down into Wednesday afternoon, with southbound traffic diverted at Highway 39 and northbound traffic diverted at Glen Park Road. Shortly before 6:30 p.m., RCMP said the highway had been reopened in both directions.
Several RCMP vehicles also remained at the scene in Blackfalds Wednesday afternoon, where officers had cordoned off the street in front of a home, as well as the alley behind the property.
An unmarked RCMP vehicle had damage to its driver’s side windshield.
The RCMP will continue to investigate the events that led up to the confrontation with police.
ASIRT will take over the investigation into the officers’ actions and said it hopes to have further information to release later this week.
The RCMP is asking anyone who captured dash cam video of any part of the incident to bring it in on a USB to the Blackfalds RCMP detachment at 4405 South St.
Officers are specifically interested in any footage that captured a black, four-door BMW sedan from 8:15 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Wednesday in the following areas:
- Town of Blackfalds
- Highway 2A between Blackfalds and Lacombe
- Highway 2 (QEII) between Lacombe and Leduc
ASIRT investigates incidents involving Alberta’s police that result in serious injury or death to any person, as well as serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct.