ASIRT finds no unlawful conduct in 2017 police shooting that seriously injured Calgary man

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ASIRT investigated after police shot a man carrying weapons five times when he confronted them in a standoff on Sept. 20, 2017. (ASIRT - image credit)
ASIRT investigated after police shot a man carrying weapons five times when he confronted them in a standoff on Sept. 20, 2017. (ASIRT - image credit)

Officers who seriously injured a Calgary man in a 2017 shooting have been cleared of unlawful or unreasonable conduct by Alberta's police watchdog.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) investigates serious allegations of police misconduct, and when death or serious injury may have been caused by police in Alberta.

It investigated an incident that occurred on Sept. 20, 2017, when police shot a man carrying two hand weapons when he confronted them in a standoff. The man was rushed to hospital in serious condition.

On Friday, it released the decision of its executive director, Michael Ewenson, who concluded that the use of force was "necessary and reasonable."

"Officers were faced with a … person armed with items that could reasonably cause death or grievous bodily harm on another and would have observed this person advancing towards an officer," the report said.

"Shooting [the man] at this time was not only reasonable, but necessary to protect."

Man held hammer, axe during confrontation: ASIRT

On the day of the incident, police responded just after 4 p.m. to a home in the 900 block of 17A Street N.E. after the man allegedly assaulted several people then fled the scene.

He was located a short time later in a detached garage in the 500 block of Markerville Road N.E., a few hundred metres to the south, in Mayland Heights, police said at the time.

According to police, text messages he sent to friends and family indicated he was armed and in distress, so officers surrounded the garage and began verbal communication with him in an attempt to get him to surrender.

After a period of time, the man opened the door and exited the garage "holding a long handled sledgehammer/axe (one side was a hammer, the other an axe) in one hand and a short handled hammer in the other," ASIRT's report said.

The man moved toward police with both items raised above his shoulders and police tried to use a conducted electrical weapon to incapacitate him, according to ASIRT.

When unsuccessful, the report says police shot the man five times, including twice in the back.

"It is reasonable to conclude that when [the man] was first shot, his body started to spin, and that in the subsequent flurry of rounds, [he] was struck twice in the back," the report said.

At the time of the incident, Acting Chief Ray Robitaille said that the man has been the subject of domestic violence-related investigations.

No names have been released.