The province’s police watchdog is investigating Shots fired by police officer on Sunday at Stanley Park, after a man — who was carrying what appeared to be a handgun near where kids were playing — “refused to comply” with police.
No one was injured in the afternoon incident at the packed park along the Elbow River in southwest Calgary.
“It was a sunny, hot Sunday, so the park was busy with all sorts of people using it,” said acting duty inspector Phil Hoetger.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), which investigates police-related shootings, was called to investigate because a service firearm was discharged during the incident.
Police say the shooting occurred after an “astute” member of the public called them around 3:40 p.m. Sunday, saying he had seen a man wearing all black walking in the park with a firearm.
When officers descended on the scene, they found a man carrying what appeared to be a handgun walking between trees near an area where kids were playing soccer.
Officers spoke to the man, who refused to comply with their orders. Police say the situation escalated to the point where an officer fired shots.
No one was injured and the suspect was eventually taken into custody.
Hoetger spoke about the incident late Sunday and remained tight-lipped about details, diverting many questions to ASIRT.
When asked directly, Hoetger wouldn’t say what type of weapon the suspect actually had, if the suspect fired any shots, how long the police officer involved in the shooting has been with the service, how many shots were fired by the officer and how exactly the situation escalated.
He said the suspect was taken into custody shortly after the incident and charges have not yet been laid.
Citizens, who were spread out across the large park enjoying the first day of spring, were ordered to leave by police from the ground and in the air, via the police helicopter’s public address system, as the incident progressed.
“(We) let members of the park know there was a risky situation going on in the park,” Hoetger said.
Officers cordoned off much of the park, including a colourful playground, with yellow tape following the shooting.
In a tweet, ASIRT confirmed it was investigating an officer-involved shooting in Calgary.
Calls to the police watchdog seeking more information were not returned Sunday.
EMS spokesman Stuart Brideaux said EMS attended the scene but no injuries were reported and no one was assessed or transported to hospital from the park.
The shooting at Stanley Park comes just days after the family of a man shot dead by a Calgary police officer in a northeast hotel room told Postmedia an external investigation, by ASIRT, has found the officer at fault.
While the case remains officially open, the family of Anthony Heffernan, who was killed March 16, 2015, at a Super 8 hotel on Barlow Trail, said they’ve been told charges have been recommended by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team.