RCMP confirmed Wednesday that one man was found dead in a rural Alberta house where two Mounties were shot.
Sgt. Patrick Webb said a search was on for a 27-year-man, Sawyer Clarke Robison, seen leaving the property after four officers from the detachment in Killam, about 160 kilometres southeast of Edmonton, arrived on Tuesday afternoon.
The officers went to the property as an ongoing investigation the small detachment had been involved in for the last week. Gunfire erupted after they arrived and two of the officers, Const. Sheldon Shah and Const. Sidney Gaudette, were cut down.
Webb said Robison could be armed with long-barrelled weapons and should be considered a high risk. He warned members of the public not to approach him.
Police had said Tuesday that the public was not at risk and Webb re-affirmed that there is no risk to the public in a general sense.
Robison, the primary resident of the house, is not a suspect, but is considered a person of interest.
“It is definitely in his best interest to contact the RCMP to speak with our investigators as soon as possible,” Webb said at a briefing Wednesday morning at the Killam detachment.
Police were trying to determine how the dead man was killed, Webb said. The man was not identified.
Several weapons were recovered at the house, Webb said.
He explained why there were so many officers at the site Tuesday afternoon and overnight — and why they didn’t enter right away.
“Last night, to the best of our information, he was still in that residence. It’s only with our entry today, and with more examination in the daylight and more details, we were able to determine he was not there,” he said.
“Once we knew who the people involved were, and once we knew there was some very significant weapons involved, we had to be extremely careful that we weren’t walking into a situation that would put more members at risk.”
He said the primary goal was to find Robison.
“The role of all the RCMP members here is to locate this individual and try to resolve this without any more shots fired or any injury to anybody.”
Shah and Gaudette suffered significant injuries to their torsos, but were recovering in Edmonton hospitals after surgery. One has been on the job for five years; the other for two.
Sawyer may be driving a black 2000 Chevrolet Silverado with Alberta licence plate number UZE 545. He is described as being just over six feet tall and weighing 200 pounds. He has brown hair and eyes and is very fit in appearance.