A 19-year-old died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound from a sawed-off firearm after he hit an officer and fled early Thursday morning in southeast Edmonton, Alberta’s police watchdog said in an update Friday.
Edmonton police officers were on a special assignment, helping with traffic control for the transport of an oversized load on Whitemud Drive eastbound between 17 Street and the Anthony Henday.
An officer was directing traffic on foot at 1:21 a.m. when a white Hyundai failed to stop as requested.
“While doing this traffic control, a vehicle struck one of our police officers,” Deputy Chief Kevin Brezinski said on Thursday.
Edmonton police investigate a traffic incident that shut down Whitemud Drive eastbound from 34 Street to Anthony Henday Drive on Thursday.ASIRT said the Hyundai continued east on Whitemud Drive.
The driver of the oversize load’s pilot vehicle saw the hit-and-run and followed the Hyundai until a marked Edmonton police vehicle arrived and attempted to conduct a traffic stop.
“We made the decision to pursue based on the dangerous driving that had been observed,” Brezinski said.
The Hyundai lost control on a curve on 17 Street, south of Anthony Henday Drive and north of Ellerslie Road, and came to a stop in the ditch.
Officials said the man got out of the vehicle with a gun. He did not follow commands to drop the firearm, and instead fired a single gunshot, fatally injuring himself, according to ASIRT.
The man’s firearm — a loaded sawed-off 9-mm carbine — was recovered from the scene. ASIRT could not say whether the gun is among those prohibited by the federal government. Additional ammunition was also found inside the vehicle.
More police officers, along with EMS, arrived and provided first aid to the man, before ultimately transporting him to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The officer who was hit was also taken to hospital with minor injuries.
A woman who was in the suspect’s vehicle was not injured.
Police later determined the Hyundai had been stolen and had a stolen plate.
The investigation closed eastbound Whitemud Drive from 34 Street to Anthony Henday Drive for several hours.
ASIRT said as of Friday, there was no evidence to suggest any police officer discharged a firearm during the incident. Because ASIRT is investigating, Edmonton police said it would not be commenting further.
ASIRT is brought in to independently investigate incidents involving Alberta’s police that result in serious injury or death.
— With files from Melissa Gilligan and Karen Bartko, Global News