PO­LICE SHOOT SUS­PECT IN S.E.

Cops de­scribe ‘con­fronta­tion’ with ap­par­ent car thieves

Calgary Sun - - NEWS - BILL KAUFMANN bkauf­mann@postmedia.com @Bil­lKauf­man­njrn

Calgary po­lice say of­fi­cers were tak­ing no chances with in­creas­ingly vi­o­lent car thieves when they shot a sus­pect in south­east Calgary late Thurs­day.

Of­fi­cers be­gan track­ing sus­pects thought to be in­volved in car prowl­ings from the pre­vi­ous day “with a weapon in­volved,” said Deputy Chief Bob Ritchie on Fri­day.

On Thurs­day at 4:30 p.m, the force’s HAWCS he­li­copter and a tac­ti­cal unit be­gan trail­ing a stolen Dodge Ram pickup truck in Og­den that took them to an ad­dress in Auburn Bay.

At that home, there was a gath­er­ing of peo­ple in the garage and it was con­sid­ered too dan­ger­ous to make an ar­rest, said Ritchie.

In­stead, po­lice laid a spike belt, which punc­tured a tire af­ter the truck drove off from the res­i­dence. The ve­hi­cle, con­tain­ing a 20-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman, sped away about 10:30 p.m.

When the truck reached the 0-100 block of Au­tumn View S.E., an­other stolen ve­hi­cle, a Toy­ota High­lander SUV from the pre­vi­ous ad­dress, pulled up, driven by a 33-year-old man.

The two oc­cu­pants of the pickup jumped into the SUV, said Ritchie.

“Our of­fi­cers tried to stop them from leav­ing the scene and a con­fronta­tion oc­curred,” said Ritchie.

One of the two men was shot, suf­fer­ing non-life-threat­en­ing in­juries and was taken to hos­pi­tal, where he’s in sta­ble con­di­tion. A man and a woman were ar­rested af­ter a brief foot chase.

Ritchie said he couldn’t give full details of the shoot­ing be­cause it’s now un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Al­berta Se­ri­ous In­ci­dent Re­sponse Team.

But he said the CPS fully backs the dis­charge of the firearm.

“The of­fi­cers faced a sit­u­a­tion that re­quired a use of force,” said Ritchie.

“I’m in­cred­i­bly proud of the job our of­fi­cers do … I’m not go­ing to se­cond guess the of­fi­cers when a con­fronta­tion like that un­folds.”

The fact a se­cond sus­pect and ve­hi­cle be­came in­volved il­lus­trates the “chaotic” scene and the reck­less de­ter­mi­na­tion of those fac­ing po­lice, said Ritchie.

“That speaks to the crim­i­nal­ity and com­mit­ment of the of­fend­ers and what our of­fi­cers are fac­ing ... they’re calling in an ad­di­tional stolen ve­hi­cle,” he said.

The episode is an­other ex­am­ple of the on­go­ing scourge of ve­hi­cle theft that can of­ten lead to un­pre­dictable and vi­o­lent out­comes, said the deputy chief.

“They re­sult in dy­namic sit­u­a­tions where the pub­lic’s safety and of­fi­cers’ safety is at risk,” said Ritchie.

While he said po­lice are mak­ing strides against the ve­hi­cle theft plague, it’s con­sum­ing enor­mous re­sources.

The of­fi­cer who fired his weapon is on a 30-day ad­min­is­tra­tive leave, while charges are pend­ing against the three uniden­ti­fied sus­pects who were known to po­lice, he said.

AL CHAREST/POSTMEDIA

A Toy­ota High­lander with a New Mex­ico plate stands Fri­day at the scene of of­fi­cer-in­volved shoot­ing on Thurs­day that took place in the com­mu­nity of Auburn Bay.

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