ASIRT clears officers in 2018 shootout with suspect barricaded in Abbeydale garage
Published Wednesday, August 21, 2019 9:42AM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, August 21, 2019 12:37PM MDT
An investigation conducted by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team determined three Calgary Police Service officers who shot at a suspect during a March 2018 response in northeast Calgary acted reasonably.
On the morning of March 27, 2018, an armed robbery was reported at the Petro Canada convenience store in the 2200 block of 68 Street N.E. While officers attended to the initial call, reports of two attempted vehicle thefts involving a man with a firearm emerged from the community of Abbeydale.
A fourth call to 911 indicated a suspect had banged on the door of an Abbeydale home with a pipe. The man did not enter the home but the responding officers located blood on the door.
During the investigation into the incidents, officers heard the sound of breaking glass near a home on Abingdon Way N.E. Two officers, with pistols drawn, ran into the backyard of the home and discovered smoke emerging from the detached garage. The CPS members noticed movement inside the garage and, according to ASIRT, spotted a muzzle flash from the window. The sound of gunshots was heard and the officers returned fire.
"There was no attempt to negotiate, there was no attempt at a conversation," stated Susan Hughson, ASIRT's executive director. "The man opened fire directly on the officers when they came within range."
"It is a very real reminder of the risks that police officers face every day."
One of the officers was struck by a shot in the upper chest and a third CPS member helped move him out of the line of fire and towards the front of the house. The injured officer had fired eight shots before being hit. The bullet pierced the officer's forearm, struck him in the upper chest and exited through his back.
The injured officer, Constable Jordan Forget, was transported by ambulance to hospital in critical condition.
The officer who remained in the backyard fired 17 shots before retreating.
Additonal CPS members arrived on scene and surrounded the detached garage as the fire within continue to grow. Additional gunfire was exchanged over the period of nearly an hour.
When the garage was fully engulfed in flames, an armoured vehicle was utilized to open the main door to the garage.
Calgary Fire Department crews extinguished the blaze. The remains of a man and a sawed-off bolt action rifle were located in the charred garage.
An autopsy confirmed the 25-year-old British Columbia man's death was the result of a single gunshot to the head and a toxicology analysis confirmed the presence of methamphetamine. Further investigation determined the man's fatal wound was self inflicted.
"The man had no other injuries other than the single gunshot wound to the head and that was confirmed to come from his gun," said ASIRT executive director Susan Hughson. "The remains were fire damaged but they were able to assess whether there were any other bullet wounds and there weren't."
The ASIRT investigation determined the officers' use of force was "reasonable and justified" as the suspect "presented a real risk of death to the officers and others in the immediate area". According to ASIRT, there are no reasonable grounds to believe the officers committed any Criminal Code offences.
As of August 2019, ASIRT has 46 open investigations.
With files from CTV's Simon Jones