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ASIRT rules Vegreville RCMP shooting justified

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team has finished their investigation into a shooting in Vegreville on Christmas Day, 2014.

In the morning, the RCMP received a 911 call that a man was robbing someone at a bank machine. When the police arrived, they found a man matching the description they had been given walking away from the bank with a cloth bag.

The officer attempted to talk to the man, who turned and put his hand inside his jacket. Beleiving the man was about to pull out a gun, the officer told him he was under arrest and to show his hands. The man refused to co-operate, and began swearing at the officer.

A second officer arrived, and told the man that they were concerned he had a gun, and they might have to shoot him.

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The situation got worse, as the man pointed a cylindrical object through his cloth bag at the two officers, waving it back and forth between them. He was ordered to drop it, but refused, instead pointing the cloth bag at the second officer, and raising what appeared to be a gun in his left hand, pointing it towards the first officer. The officers again ordered him to put it down, but he refused. One of the officers fired at the man’s chest, giving him a non-life threatening injury.

The officers discovered that the objects that had been pointed at them were a replica handgun and a rolled-up poster. They also found that the original 911 call to the area was made from the suspect’s cell phone.

ASIRT executive director Sarah Hughson concluded that the officers acted in self-defense, and will not face any disciplinary action.

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