Officer ‘justified’ in shooting

A Calgary police officer was justified in firing three shots at a man who was guarding an apartment doorway with a bloody knife as his wife lay near death inside, an independent body tasked with investigating police has ruled.

CALGARY — A Calgary police officer was justified in firing three shots at a man who was guarding an apartment doorway with a bloody knife as his wife lay near death inside, an independent body tasked with investigating police has ruled.

Walid Maragan, 35, called police to the apartment shortly after 9 p.m. Sept. 4, 2008, saying he had killed his wife.

When officers arrived, they found the door to the apartment ajar and Maragan waiting inside in front of the bedroom door.

They told him repeatedly to put down a long butcher knife, said Clifton Purvis, head of the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team.

“Instead, he challenged police officers by making slashing motions towards them.”

Officers deployed a Taser, but only one of the device’s two prongs hit the man, meaning an electronic current couldn’t jolt through his body. A second attempt was abandoned because of the small size of the room.

With the man only about two metres away and still jabbing the knife, one of the officers fired three times in rapid succession, said Purvis.

The shots were fired about 39 seconds after the officers entered the apartment, Purvis said, adding they had to act fast.

“Mr. Maragan presented in a combative fashion. He had a knife, there was blood present at the scene, there was concern for the welfare of anybody who may have been in the suite, and at that point in time it was impossible to tell who was in the suite,” he said.

“There was some urgency, clearly.”

After Maragan was shot, Sabah Rizig, 33, was found inside the bedroom. She was unconscious and breathing, but died on scene.

Rizig and Maragan were having marital difficulties at the time, said Purvis, although investigators haven’t been able to figure out if they were still married or officially separated.

He said there was no restraining order and neither person was known to police.

While Maragan summoned police himself, then told them he would not put the knife down and “invited the police officers to, in effect, come and get him,” it’s impossible to know whether he wanted them to kill him, said Purvis.

“He did not leave a note. There was no stated intentions.”

Purvis said after reviewing the file, as well as the Crown’s opinion, he has concluded no charges should be laid against the officers involved.

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