RCMP fatally shooting man with gun on highway near Leduc ‘reasonable’: ASIRT – Edmonton

RCMP fatally shooting man with gun on highway near Leduc ‘reasonable’: ASIRT - Edmonton

An Alberta Serious Incident Response Team investigation into an RCMP shooting on Highway 2 near Leduc, Alta., in May 2020 that left a 27-year-old man dead found no reasonable grounds that an offence was committed.

The May 6, 2020 incident involved five officers who fired their service weapons and one male suspect.

At approximately 9 a.m. that day, central Alberta RCMP units were told to be on the lookout for a black BMW driven by man who had “fired a gun at police officers and a civilian in Blackfalds.”

An RCMP news release from that day explained officers responded to a firearms complaint at a house and when they 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.

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Police said a man involved in the incident drove away from the scene and headed north on the QEII.

Click to play video: '27-year-old man dead, RCMP officer injured after shooting near Leduc'

27-year-old man dead, RCMP officer injured after shooting near Leduc

At 9:19 a.m., an officer saw the suspect vehicle on the highway near Ponoka and began to follow in an unmarked police vehicle.

At 9:27 a.m., he appeared to notice marked RCMP vehicles at the Highway 616 overpass and sped up to 180 km/h, ASIRT said.

A spike belt was deployed a few minutes later and the man struggled to control his car after that, ASIRT said, crossing the median to drive north in the southbound lanes.

The driver tried to turn at the overpass to Leduc “but had difficulties controlling his vehicle,” and “came to a stop near the exist ramp lane at 9:36 a.m.,” ASIRT explained.

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There was one officer stopped in front of him and several others across from them on the other side of the highway.

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The man immediately started to get out of his vehicle and was holding a long gun, the ASIRT report said.

Two other officers pulled up behind him and stopped. The man aimed the gun at one of them.

Police vehicle photo shows man pointing firearm at RCMP on May 6, 2020 near Leduc.

Courtesy: ASIRT

On audio from one of the RCMP vehicles behind the suspect’s, ASIRT found there were several gunshot sounds. The man in the car fired at the officer, ASIRT said, and then fired “at least one more shot.”

“A total of seven loud bangs consistent with (the officer) firing a gun are heard” over the span of two seconds, the ASIRT report found.

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The man drops the gun — later identified as a semi-automatic 12-gauge shotgun — and turns to walk away.

“During this time, numerous pops consistent with gunfire from outside of (the officer’s) vehicle are heard. On the northbound side of the highway, (two other officers) are firing their handguns,” ASIRT said.

The man takes four steps and falls to the ground. One more gunshot is heard.

The long gun that the man fired and then dropped was a semi-automatic 12-gauge shotgun. ASIRT investigation in May 6, 2020, RCMP shooting near Leduc.

Courtesy: ASIRT

The officer who was behind him “exits through the passenger side of his vehicle and is bleeding from the head,” ASIRT said. In a statement, that officer reported he was taken to hospital for “cuts and abrasions to his face and arms, a missing tooth, and a broken finger. He had two surgeries to remove pellets from his face,” the ASIRT report detailed.

Evidence from the scene included three shotgun shell cases near the BMW. ASIRT believes the five RCMP officers fired their weapons twice, once, six times, seven times and twice.

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One of the RCMP officers’ vehicles after the exchange with a man on May 6, 2020, near Leduc.

Courtesy: ASIRT

An autopsy on the 27-year-old man found seven gunshot wounds — on his neck, chest, left side, back, pubis, right hand and right thigh. Toxicology showed he had consumed cocaine, marijuana and alcohol. His cause of death was “attributed to multiple gunshot wounds.”

ASIRT found that the man’s previous actions in Blackfalds, as well as him pointing a firearm at the officer “presented a clear danger.”

“There was ample information for officers to conclude that (he) was a serious risk to the public. They were provided information that he had shot at officers and a civilian and had fled,” ASIRT said.

“When the (man) exited his vehicle with a firearm, their duty to protect the lives of fellow police officers was also engaged. Their reaction to the (man), who had already fired at other officers, was reasonable,” ASIRT found.

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The police watchdog also found the officers’ actions were proportionate and reasonable.

“In that situation, there is no doubt that it was also reasonable for them to fire at the (man) to stop the serious threat he posed. It was also necessary for the subject officers to fire at (him) when they did,” ASIRT determined.

“The subject officers’ actions were reasonable in this extreme situation, and the defences available under s. 25 and s. 34 of the Criminal Code are likely to apply. As a result, there are not reasonable grounds to believe that an offence was committed,” ASIRT concluded.

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