UPDATE: The doctor killed in a violent attack in Red Deer has been identified as Walter Reynolds.
A doctor is dead and a man is in custody following an attack at a walk-in clinic in Red Deer on Monday afternoon.
Officers were called to the Village Mall Walk-In Clinic just after 11 a.m. for reports of an attack with a weapon. At about 12:30 p.m., the RCMP said the incident being investigated as a homicide and the Major Crimes Unit was called to help. No other suspects are being sought.
Anina Mullin was in the clinic’s waiting room with her 13-year-old daughter just after 11 a.m. when she says her family doctor was attacked in one of the exam rooms.
“We heard slams and a doctor yelling, ‘Help me, help me call 911, call 911,’” she told Global News over the phone on Monday afternoon.
She said the receptionist then went to see what was happening and came back asking for someone to help.
Two men in the waiting room went to the door where the attack was unfolding and when one of them turned and ran to the exit, Mullin said she grabbed her daughter’s hand and ran out as well.
“I actually pushed a lady that was in front,” she said. “I said, ‘Go lady, go! Get out of the way, go!’”
Mullin said she and her daughter got in their truck which was in front of the clinic and locked the door. From their seats, they could see male patients holding the doors closed so the attacker couldn’t get out of the clinic.
From the parking lot, Mullin watched as an armed police officer rushed toward the clinic doors.
“[He] had his gun drawn and pointed it at someone in there and said, ‘Put it down or I shoot,'” she said.
She then saw what appeared to be a hammer thrown at the officer, which he dodged before yelling for someone to “put down the machete.” At that point, Mullin said that officer and a number of other officers ran in.
Minutes later, officers took a man in handcuffs from the clinic before paramedics were seen rushing in.
RCMP later confirmed a responding officer was hit with a “blunt weapon” and suffered minor injuries before disarming the suspect. Police added that police were at the scene within two or three minutes of being called and that the suspect was disarmed within five minutes.
Shortly after, Mullin said she watched as paramedics wheeled her doctor — covered in blood — out of the building and into an ambulance.
“They were applying pressure to his forehead and he was covered in blood from basically head to about his belt area,” Mullin said.
“A horrific tragedy resulting in a senseless loss of life occurred at the Village Mall Walk-in Clinic in Red Deer today leaving our community shocked and grieving,” Red Deer mayor Tara Veer said in a statement Monday night.
“I wish to offer my deepest condolences to the victim’s family, friends, loved ones, and to the medical community in our city.”
The statement acknowledged the many citizens who were on scene.
“We are concerned about the well-being of first hand witnesses, clinic staff and other bystanders at the Village Mall. City Council and I encourage anyone who may be suffering trauma and requires resources as a result of witnessing the tragedy to call the Red Deer City Victim Services at 403-406-2345 for assistance.”
Veer also thanked the first responders and citizens who helped at the scene.
“Thank you for your quick response and bravery. This was essential in preventing further harm and apprehending a suspect.”
In a tweet Monday afternoon, Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro offered his condolences to the family of the doctor, saying he was “deeply saddened” to hear of the attack.
“Sending my condolences to the physician’s family and loved ones,” Shandro wrote. “My thoughts and prayers are with all staff and patients who witnessed this tragic attack.”
Premier Jason Kenney also tweeted about Monday’s attack, calling it “horrendous.”
“Can’t imagine the pain and sorrow his family and clinic staff are now going through,” Kenney said. “On behalf of all Albertans, our deepest condolences go out to them.”
Global News is not reporting the identity of the doctor at this time.
RCMP would not give any further information on Monday afternoon on the nature of the incident, including whether any charges would be laid. However, at a news conference held late Monday night, RCMP said they anticipate charges will be laid against the suspect in custody.
“I am sickened to learn that a member of our community died in such a violent tragedy,” Supt. Gerald Grobmeier told reporters at the news conference in Red Deer.
“Our heart breaks for the victim’s family and friends, and I offer my sincere condolences to all those who are grieving this evening.”
Grobmeier said that in order to protect the integrity of their investigation, police would not be releasing details about the victim, whether the attack was targeted or what weapon was used in the attack.
Grobmeier commended the officer who disarmed the suspect.
“This was an extremely quick response time and likely prevented further tragedy,” he said, adding no guns were fired during the arrest.
Mullin said her physician was an amazing doctor.
“I’ve never seen anything quite as horrific as that.
“It’s definitely affected my daughter. It’s hard to get out of your mind,” she said. “I don’t know if I could ever go back into that clinic. It’s awful.”
Dr. Christine Molnar, president of the Alberta Medical Association, said in a statement that the organization will be reaching out to local medical staff for support.
–With files from rdnewsNOW’s Sheldon Spackman and Troy Gillard and The Canadian Press