Alberta’s police watchdog investigating 3rd fatal shooting involving EPS in as many months

Click to play video: 'Call for Alberta policing changes with 4 fatal shootings this year' Call for Alberta policing changes with 4 fatal shootings this year
WATCH: The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team is investigating its fourth police involved shooting this year, which has prompted calls for change to prevent similar incidents. Breanna Karstens-Smith reports. – Mar 14, 2022

Four people have been shot and killed by police in Alberta since the beginning of 2022.

Three of the fatalities have been in Edmonton. The latest was in Edmonton Sunday.

Edmonton police said they were called to a home at 109 Street and 53 Avenue to arrest a man who was wanted on more than two dozen outstanding — provincewide and nationwide — warrants.

Tactical officers went to arrest the suspect but a confrontation started and police ended up shooting the man.

In February, Edmonton police were called to an armed robbery at a liquor store on 104 Avenue.

Officers found and chased a 36-year-old suspect, shooting him dead. The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team said a fake gun was found near the suspect.

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A stray bullet flew into a neighbouring apartment and hit a 59-year-old innocent man who also died.

Read more: ASIRT investigating after fatal shooting suspect also shot by RCMP during arrest near Bonnyville

One New Year’s Eve, police tried to stop a stolen vehicle. A 33-year-old man was shot and killed when the chase ended.

A sawed-off shotgun was discovered near that suspect.

Criminology professor Temitope Oriola pointed out lethal force is supposed to be used as a last resort.

“At the minimum, these incidents call for deep introspection, they call for an examination — a painstaking examination — of use-of-force policy and practice in our province,” Oriola said.

The fatalities come as the police watchdog has been shortstaffed and facing funding challenges.

In the latest provincial budget, however, ASIRT received a nearly $1.4-million increase in funding.

“We’ll be hiring five new investigators across the province,” said ASIRT’s acting executive director Mike Ewenson.

“It’s exactly what we asked for, quite frankly, in terms of dealing with the backlog in terms of both getting answers out and concluding investigations, as well as having more boots on the ground in terms of dealing with more calls into ASIRT to deal with investigations.”

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Oriola said he worries for how many more investigations could be added before those supports are in place.

“I am worried that at this pace, we might be on for a record that nobody might be proud of,” Oriola said.

Global News reached out to the Edmonton Police Service for comment Monday but did not receive one.

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