Residents in a Blackfalds, Alta., neighbourhood say they are shaken by what happened in their community Wednesday morning.
What started as a firearms call in Blackfalds around 8:15 a.m.t, ended with one person dead and two others — including one RCMP officer — seriously injured, after gunfire rang out alongside the QEII south of Edmonton hours later.
Residents in Blackfalds said they heard shots being fired Wednesday morning. Then, three women ran out the home where the shooting began. They first went across the street to a neighbour’s house, before eventually ending up at Bob Howell’s home. He lives a few doors down from where the women fled.
“There was a hell of a bang… I don’t know what it was. It was loud,” Howell said Thursday.
“They come runnin’ down the street and I knew something was wrong. So I said, ‘You better come in here.'”
Howell said the women told them the boyfriend of one of the women shot at the TV and the wall. They called 911 and ran from the house, across the street to another neighbour’s place. That’s when RCMP arrived on scene and shots were fired at a police vehicle.
Pictures from the scene show several shots hit the driver’s side windshield of the police vehicle.
“When they shot the window, I was watching out and they had to duck out of the way,” Howell said.
Howell said the women didn’t tell him what prompted the violence in the first place, but said they were shaken.
“One was really shook up — the girlfriend. I really felt sorry for her,” Howell said.
“I don’t want to see it happen too often, or ever again, actually.”
While all of this was happening, a bystander was shot and seriously injured. RCMP Cpl. Laurel Scott said Friday the 48-year-old woman is stable and recovering in hospital.
Another neighbour, Brad Cotter, captured video of the police scene as it was unfolding.
“I heard it. I heard the shots going off and I told my wife something’s not right,” Cotter said.
The video shows several officers walking down the street with their guns drawn.
“I looked out front and there were four cops out there with their long guns,” Cotter said. “They went single file down the street and checked out the house. He wasn’t there anymore.”
The suspect drove off in a black BMW and ended up on the QEII heading north. 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.
The vehicle eventually came to a stop where shots were fired, resulting in the death of the 27-year-old man. The man who died was not known to police, Scott said.
An RCMP officer suffered serious, but non-life-threatening injuries. The officer was doing well Thursday and expected to make a full recovery, said Cpl. Laurel Scott with the RCMP.
A section of the QEII near the Highway 2A exit was closed in both directions until shortly after 6 p.m. Wednesday while RCMP conducted their investigation.
The RCMP is now 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. on Wednesday in the following areas:
- Town of Blackfalds
- Highway 2A between Blackfalds and Lacombe
- Highway 2 (QEII) between Lacombe and Leduc
The RCMP continues to investigate.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team has taken over the investigation into the officers’ actions and said it hopes to have further information to release later this week. 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.