Alberta’s police oversight agency has released new details about last week’s death of a man whose pursuit, arrest and death near a provincial park also resulted in the death of a police service dog.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team says in a news release the 29-year-old suspect was involved in a shootout with RCMP on Thursday after officers had tracked him for several kilometres through thick bush around High Prairie, Alta.
During the gunfire exchange, ASIRT says a police service dog was shot and killed, and the officers were told to disengage and were airlifted out in a helicopter.
ASIRT says backup was brought in and officers fired their guns when they encountered the suspect again, and this time they believed they’d hit him, but attempts to find him failed.
The agency says officers later made contact with the suspect two more times but it appeared he hadn’t been injured after all.
The release says on Friday morning, two officers who were assigned to contain the area spotted the suspect in a ditch, a confrontation occurred, and both officers opened fire. The suspect was later pronounced dead.
“The man fell to the ground in the tall grass, and additional police officers and … medical officers responded to the area. Medical officers attempted to treat the man, but ultimately he died at the scene,” the ASIRT release said of the final confrontation.
“A loaded semi-automatic .22-calibre rifle, as well as a range finder, were recovered from the incident scene and have been seized as exhibits.”
RCMP identified the suspect last week as Lionel Ernest Grey of the Gift Lake Metis Settlement. Police had said that he’d died from injuries following his arrest, but they hadn’t say what injuries he’d had or how he died.
They said a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit.
ASIRT said its investigation will examine the actions of police, while the RCMP will maintain responsibility for the investigation of the suspect and his actions.
The agency said that since investigation is underway, it won’t be releasing any further information.
ASIRT is investigating another shooting in northern Alberta on Sunday night that also ended with a suspect dead and a police dog injured.
Mounties said they were looking for a suspect who fled on foot after a dispute in a vehicle near the community of Ardmore, southwest of Cold Lake. They said officers and a police dog found the suspect, there was a confrontation and an officer fired a gun.
The man died at the scene and the dog was taken to a veterinarian and treated for a non life-threatening injury.
—The Canadian Press