News / Calgary

ASIRT finds Calgary police justified in shooting following hit-and-run, crime rampage in November 2015

The driver of the vehicle was shot after a hit-and-run and attempted get away in a stolen vehicle

Police taped off Riverfront Avenue, stretching from the Drop-In & Rehab Society to Centre Street Nov. 3, 2015.

Metro File Photo

Police taped off Riverfront Avenue, stretching from the Drop-In & Rehab Society to Centre Street Nov. 3, 2015.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) has concluded that a Calgary police officer’s actions were justified in a 2015 officer-involved shooting.

The initial incident occured Nov. 3 after an apparent hit and run / pedestrian injury collision outside the east entrance of the Calgary Drop In Centre.

ASIRT said while officers were on their way to the scene they were told that a similar vehicle had been involved in multiple criminal events throughout that day.

It had been reported that after stealing the vehicle, the occupants got out with a baseball bat and what appeared to be a handgun—this information led officers to believe the vehicle occupants could be a significant and continuous risk to public safety if not apprehended.

During their investigation ASIRT said they learned that moments after the arrival of CPS on scene , the vehicle in question sped off east on 5 Avenue SE, jumped a curb on the south side of Dermot Baldwin Way and drove onto a large extended sidewalk occupied by pedestrians.

“While four uniformed officers were standing near one of the police vehicles - a police van - the vehicle continued northbound traveling in a straight line towards it. One officer, who was opening the front driver’s door of the van, saw the vehicle moving directly toward him,” said ASIRT.

“While calling out to the other officers, he jumped through the open door, and narrowly escaped being struck and crushed between the suspect vehicle and the van.”

It is then that ASIRT said another officer who was standing near the front driver’s side of the van drew his gun, and as the vehicle hit the driver’s side door, he was forced to step back and push off the front hood of the van to avoid being struck.

This is when the officer drew his weapon and shot at the driver, ASIRT said.  

While the four officers ran after the vehicle, the driver turned onto the east sidewalk, maneuvering between emergency vehicles, driving north and forcing pedestrians to take evasive action to avoid being hit.

The driver continued to travel the wrong way on 4 Avenue SE, and upon turning west onto Riverfront Avenue SE, the driver hit a civilian vehicle parked on the walk, swerved back into the driving lane and continued west before finally coming to a stop on Riverfront Avenue, where an off-duty CPS officer apprehended the vehicle's two occupants.

The driver had been struck by a bullet and was taken to hospital, ASIRT said.

ASIRT’s executive director Susan Hughson, reviewed the evidence and has confirmed there is no reasonable grounds to believe the officer involved committed any criminal offences and that his actions were both reasonable and justified in law.

“Based on the available evidence, it is very clear that the conduct of the driver constituted a very real risk of grievous bodily harm, if not death, to the officer who barely escaped being struck, as well as other pedestrians in the area,” said ASIRT. “Only the good fortune and good reflexes of those in the path of the vehicle prevented serious harm.”