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Suspect charged following brazen Falconridge officer-involved shooting: police

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A Calgary man has been charged after he was taken into custody by police following an officer-involved shooting in northeast Calgary Wednesday afternoon that left one man dead, a police officer hospitalized, and local business owners flabbergasted.

Police said the arrest on Wednesday was connected to a late September shooting.

On Saturday, Sept. 30, around 2:45 p.m., a driver phoned in a shooting between two vehicles on westbound Glenmore Trail near 37 Street S.W.

Both vehicles fled that scene and no injuries were reported.

Around a half-hour later, police were called to a residence in the 100 block of Seton Passage S.E. for reports that a man had been shot while parking.

Officers arrived to discover a man suffering from gunshot wounds and transported him to hospital in serious condition. A subsequent investigation revealed that four surrounding homes were hit by bullets fired by the shooter, prior to fleeing the scene in a stolen vehicle.

Bullet hole in Whitney Ottway's home after a Saturday afternoon shooting in Calgary. (Photo: Tyler Barrow)

Further investigation determined that those two shootings were connected, and police were able to identify suspects, who they believed were connected to rival crime groups who targeted the victim.

As a result, police enlisted the tactical unit to arrest the suspects.

WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON SHOOTING

Wednesday, at around 2:40 p.m. in the 5700 block of Falsbridge Drive N.E., while in the process of arresting two suspects, an officer-involved shooting took place that left one suspect dead and one police officer transported to hospital in stable condition.

The second suspect was taken into custody and arrested, whereupon police discovered that he had a loaded handgun.

Thursday, police executed a search warrant on the suspect's vehicle, seizing two more loaded handguns.

Thanh Nguyen, 25, of Calgary was charged with one count each of attempted murder, discharging a firearm with intent, possession of stolen property over $5,000, unlawful possession of a firearm in a vehicle, unlawful possession of a restricted firearm with ammunition, possession of a weapon obtained by crime and possession of a restricted firearm contrary to a prohibition order.

Nguyen will appear in court on Friday, Oct. 27.

At a press briefing Wednesday night, Acting Deputy Chief Cliff O’Brien said, "It's never easy when one of our own is hurt while answering the call to serve Calgarians each and every day."

O'Brien said the officer was an 11-year member of the service, but would not say which unit they worked with or release their name.

The injured police officer has been released from hospital.

The province's police watchdog, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), is investigating.

A DAY HE'LL NEVER FORGET

Wednesday is a day Max Belmonte will never forget.

"It just happened so quick," the manager of Trail Tire Auto Centres said.

"I was sitting behind my desk and I heard three pops. I saw a little bit of smoke coming from where I heard and I looked through and all other police came in and converged where the shooting started."

Belmonte had a perfect line of sight to a daytime shooting that ended with one officer struck, one suspect dead and a second suspect taken into police custody.

"I asked my guys to hide, protect themselves, which I did along with the customers," Belmonte said.

Belmonte says he is still shaken up by the events that unfolded on Wednesday.

"Quite an experience," he said.

Max Belmonte, manager of Trail Tire Auto Centres, had a perfect line of sight to a daytime shooting that ended with one officer struck, one suspect dead and a second suspect taken into police custody.

Belmonte says the deadly shootout happened just before 3 p.m.

"Being in my position and with customers in there, I had obviously our safety, customers' safety and once after all that happened, after all that, they started putting up police tapes," he said.

"Once that was going up, I figured, OK, everything must be OK, and we locked down the base."

GUNFIRE OUTSIDE HIS STORE

Saleh Hammoud, owner of the Falconridge Barber Shop, said he heard the gunfire taking place outside his store but didn't see it.

He was cutting a customer's hair when a bullet pierced one pane of glass in his front door.

"When they shoot my glass, for sure, it's scary," he said.

"We have to hide, there is no choice."

Saleh Hammoud, owner of the Falconridge Barber Shop, says he was cutting a customer's hair when a bullet pierced one pane of glass in his front door.

Hammoud says his client ran and hid, while he went behind the cash register and stayed down.

"This is idiot people," he said.

"They have to be bad people, they shoot the police."

Hammoud says it was a bullet from a police officer that pierced his front door and that he's thankful for double-paned windows.

He's hopeful the city will pay for a new door.

The investigation continues.

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