No charges against Alberta Mountie in shooting death: police watchdog

EDMONTON — Alberta’s police watchdog says a Mountie was justified in the 2017 shooting death of a man with a homemade shotgun.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team says in a release that two officers noticed the man sleeping in a parked SUV outside a known drug house in Gleichen, southeast of Calgary.

The agency says the man had the shotgun between his legs and, when he woke up swearing, he moved to grab the weapon.

It says the officers told the man he was under arrest and yelled at him to show his hands but he continued to reach for the gun.

An officer standing near the driver’s side of the vehicle fired his gun at the man, and he died of multiple gunshot wounds.

ASIRT says the man was later identified as a 26-year-old resident of Morley, who had been prohibited from possessing firearms as a result of a criminal conviction.

An autopsy showed he had alcohol and drugs in his system. Drug pipes, packaging and pills were also found in the SUV, along with a homemade 12-gauge shotgun made from a metal pipe, wooden stock and firing pin.

ASIRT says the gun was tested and found to be inoperable.

“Having observed the firearm within the vehicle, the officers were lawfully entitled to investigate and seize the weapon and take the man into custody,” said the release.

“The subsequent actions of the man, in persistently reaching for what reasonably appeared to be a firearm — despite repeated verbal commands by the officers — created a situation that reasonably gave rise to a fear of death or grievous bodily harm on the part of the officers.”

It says there is no reasonable ground to charge the officer with a criminal offence.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2020

The Canadian Press

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