Police vehicles at Calgary Police Service headquarters on April 9, 2020. Calgary police have charged a man in the sex assaults of six students when he was a junior high school teacher two decades ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Calgary police cleared in fatal shooting of woman who was stabbing her son

CALGARY — Alberta’s police watchdog says Calgary police shot and killed a 33-year-old Indigenous woman to save her son.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response team says it was directed to investigate the woman’s death and an injury to her 17-year-old son during an encounter with police in May 2018.

The agency says in a release that the woman had a tragic past and extensive criminal history involving violence, and a warrant had been issued for her arrest after she failed to return to a residence for women transitioning into the community from prison.

The release says her son, who had been living in Regina and was wanted on warrants for drug offences, travelled to Calgary to see his mother.

It says officers responding to a call on May 17, 2018, about a break-in at a home heard a verbal dispute between a man and a woman.

It escalated as a tactical team entered and the woman grabbed a knife and started stabbing her son.

Two officers fired their service pistols, striking the woman repeatedly and sending her to the ground. She was confirmed dead by paramedics. An autopsy later confirmed the cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds.

The man was taken to hospital and survived.

“In a horrifying example of how unpredictable situations can be, officers were required to act immediately in their attempt to save the young man,” said the news release.

“While the loss of life is never the ideal outcome, the officers had a fundamental duty to stop the woman to preserve the life of the young man. She had already stabbed him, inflicting critical injuries, and as she raised the knife to stab him again, the officers were placed in the worst possible situation where they had to use lethal force to prevent her from killing what turned out to be her own son.”