MEDICINE HAT — Police in Medicine Hat are investigating two deaths from the weekend, one the possible homicide of a city businessman and the other the police shooting of a suspect in the case.
Police have confirmed that Chester Hunchak, a former U-Haul dealer, was reported missing Friday by his spouse.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, which investigates all officer-related shootings, said an officer who went to a rural residence on Saturday looking for Hunchak was confronted by an armed man.
Backup was called in and officers at some point saw a body being dragged from the back of the building.
When the suspect drove toward officers while trying to leave the scene, he was fatally shot.
Police won’t confirm the body being dragged was Hunchak, but have said the search for him has been called off. Close friends have told the Medicine Hat News that the businessman was indeed killed in connection with the weekend’s events.
The newspaper also quoted sources as saying Hunchak had gone to meet with someone interested in buying his SUV.
Police Chief Andy McGrogan said the shooting of the suspect was justified.
“It was a dynamic situation,” he said Monday. “The officer’s actions were based on a lot of troubling information that involved a great deal of safety concerns for our community and our officers.”
McGrogan added he personally knew Hunchak for nearly three decades, calling him “a character, a decent guy” who wrote him a congratulatory letter after he was promoted to chief.
“I still have that letter,” said McGrogan.
The officer involved in the shooting of the suspect, who has not been named, is on a 30-day administrative leave following the incident.