Edmonton police devastated by shooting deaths of 2 officers, chief says

Edmonton Police Service Chief Dale McFee makes his way to speak to media about two police officers who were shot and killed on duty in Edmonton on Thursday, March 16, 2023.  (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Edmonton Police Service Chief Dale McFee makes his way to speak to media about two police officers who were shot and killed on duty in Edmonton on Thursday, March 16, 2023. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press - image credit)

The killings of two Edmonton police officers who were shot in the line of duty Thursday is a horrific tragedy, says the chief of the Edmonton Police Service.

Const. Travis Jordan, 35, and Const. Brett Ryan, 30, were killed while responding to what police described as a family dispute at an apartment complex in the city's northwest.

The young male suspect who shot the officers is dead. A woman was also taken from the scene with serious injuries.

Police would not confirm the age of the suspect or his relationship with the injured woman. Neither police or Alberta Health Services would provide an update on the woman's condition in hospital.

Sources have told CBC News the suspect was 16. Sources also said the injured woman is the youth's mother and that she was shot.

Chief Dale McFee was visibly emotional as he spoke about the shooting during a news conference at police headquarters.

"Today, the Edmonton Police Service has been marked by really, an unthinkable and a horrific tragedy," McFee said from an atrium packed with more than 100 officers and police staff.

"These two members died in service and protection of our community and their lives and sacrifice will not be forgotten."

McFee said that around 12:47 a.m., Jordan and Ryan — patrol officers with West Division — responded to the call at an apartment complex near 114th Avenue and 132nd Street.

When they arrived, the officers entered the apartment building. As they approached the suite, they were shot by a young male suspect, McFee said.

"At this time, all indications are that they did not have a chance to discharge their firearms," he said.

"The two members were rushed to the hospital by our own members who worked valiantly to save their lives en route. Unfortunately, they were both declared deceased at the hospital."

Jason Franson/The Canadian Press
Jason Franson/The Canadian Press

The young male suspect is also dead. Investigators believed he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, McFee said.

A female related to the male suspect was taken from the scene with life-threatening injuries.

She was taken to hospital with serious injuries. She remains in stable condition, police said.

McFee said the investigation remains active and detectives remain at the scene.

There is no further risk to the public, he said. Further details on the investigation will be released as they become available.

Jordan had 8½ years of service with Edmonton police. Ryan had 5½ years of service.

"They worked side by side with us every day in service to our community and I can't tell you how devastated we are with their loss," McFee said.

"These people were doing their job. This is unthinkable, it's unimaginable, it's horrific, it's a tragedy but we will move on, because that's what we do."

WATCH: Edmonton police Chief Dale McFee addresses the media.

The EPS employee and family assistance section has since been called out to assist the families of the deceased officers and other members of the police service.

Funeral and procession details will be confirmed and shared with the community in the coming days, McFee said.

He said the men's remains were provided a police escort to the medical examiner's office. He thanked the first responders who offered that service.

Police remain at the scene in the residential area of Inglewood. Much of the police presence is concentrated around the Baywood Park Apartments, where several streets remained blocked to public access.

At the scene Thursday morning, police tape was strung across the entrance to a building in the complex. A large police command post truck was parked in the street, lights flashing.

Several officers could be seen walking out of a ground level suite in the complex. The entrance to the building was sealed off with yellow police tape. A forensic truck was stationed nearby.

Outpouring of condolences

News of the deaths prompted an outpouring of condolences from police, politicians and public safety officials across the country.

"Every day, police officers put themselves in harm's way to keep people safe," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement.

"The news that two officers have been killed in the line of duty reminds us of that reality.

"I'm sending my condolences to the officers' loved ones and colleagues — we're here for you."

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith issued a joint statement with Mike Ellis, the minister of public safety and emergency services.

"The sudden and tragic deaths of these two Edmonton Police Service officers remind us again of the dangers police officers constantly face to ensure the safety of Albertans," Smith and Ellis said in the statement.

"The province is here to support the Edmonton Police Service during this tragic loss."

During question period Thursday, Ellis said the names of the EPS officers will be added to the monument for fallen police officers on the south grounds of the legislature.

Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi extended his condolences to the families of the two men, the police service, first responders.

"Today is a very difficult and sad day," Sohi said.

Large police presence at 114th Avenue and 132nd Street

Police services in Calgary, Vancouver the Greater Toronto Area and Halifax expressed condolences on Twitter.

Michael Gendron, a spokesperson for the Canadian Police Association, said members' hearts are broken.

"Sending our most sincere condolences, and our prayers to all who are mourning the loss of friends and colleagues today, and especially to their families at this tragic time," Gendron wrote on social media.

Edmonton police Staff Sgt. Mike Elliott, a former president of the Edmonton Police Association, said he is devastated by the news.

"No words can describe what our members [and] their families are feeling at this moment. Our entire service and community are mourning,"  Elliott wrote in a post on social media.

The last Edmonton police officer killed in the line of duty was Const. Daniel Woodall, who was shot on June 8, 2015.

Woodall, a hate crimes investigator, was killed by Norman Raddatz, 42, while attempting to arrest Raddatz on a charge of criminal harassment at his west Edmonton home. A second officer was injured, but survived.

Woodall's widow, Claire Woodall, said she was heartbroken to learn two officers had been shot in the line of duty. She said she hugged her children tightly after learning of the deaths.

In a statement, she offered her support to the grieving families.

"It has understandably brought back painful memories," she said. "I'm saddened to think these same feelings will be shared by the fallen officers families again today."

Jason Franson/The Canadian Press
Jason Franson/The Canadian Press