The police watchdog that oversees investigations says the shooting that left a 29-year-old man partially paralyzed nearly two years ago was justified and reasonable.
Susan Hughson of the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) concluded after reviewing evidence that there was no reasonable grounds or suspicion, to believe the involved officers committed any criminal offence.
The suspect was in the drive-thru of a fast food restaurant in a Dodge truck when officers tried to stop him in relation to another investigation. When the driver sped off he collided with an SUV and was moving at 124 km/h at the moment of collision. He got out of his truck holding a handgun, pointing it at another driver who stopped to help.
An officer ordered him to drop the gun as the 29-year-old man ran towards the second truck. The officer fired his gun at the suspect who, with a gun in hand, began banging on the driver’s window and yelling for him to “get out of the truck.” An officer hit the suspect with his police vehicle, but got up and pointed his gun at the officer, and which point police shot him.
The man was treated by EMS staff and transferred to the hospital where he was then airlifted by STARS air ambulance to Edmonton. HIs injuries would ultimately turn out to be serious, permanent injuries including partial paralysis. The woman whose SUV was hit was not seriously injured. In a statement, Hughson says the circumstances led officers to believe he was a danger to himself and others.
“During the course of these events, the 29-year-old man demonstrated he was highly motivated to escape, having driven over an embankment and fled police. He was not only prepared to endanger others to do so, but had possibly already injured or killed an uninvolved woman who had simply been in his path, having forcefully collided with her vehicle,” says Hughson.
Hughson believes that the officers’ use of force during this event was both reasonable and justified in the circumstances. She adds that in her opinion “there can be no doubt that the actions of the officers” prevented him from committing a robbery that may have resulted in injury or death. No charges will be laid against the officers.