Calgary police chief says review underway in latest homicide
Rick Hanson says service looking at how domestic violence calls were handled
Calgary’s police chief is assuring the public a review is underway on the city’s latest domestic violence related death.
The body of Lacey Jones Mcknight, 20, was found in a car on Oct. 25 around 10 p.m. MT near the 900 block of 112 Avenue N.E.
Nearby, police had to rescue a man in his late 20s attempting to hang himself off a bridge.
Kristopher Guenther is now charged with second-degree murder in connection to Jones Mcknight’s death.
Mcknight’s family alleges Guenther had been stalking Lacey since they broke up about one month ago.
Mcknight’s mother, Shelly Jones, says the family complained to police about the stalking on numerous occasions but felt their concerns were not addressed, calling it a case where the system "failed" her daughter.
On Monday, Calgary Police Chief Rick Hanson wouldn’t comment on whether anything more could have been done but told reporters a review on how the case was handled is underway.
Hanson also answered to the family's allegations that officers told them to not talk to the media.
Hanson says officers did that to protect the investigation, not to protect police.
"It's really important when you are putting a case of this seriousness together that information isn't planted in people's heads through the media because we need to get statements from people that are not influenced by what they may have heard in the media," Hanson explained.
"I mean the reality is if people choose to complain about actions of the police or if they have a concern, we're never going to discourage that. But what we will do, is when there is an active investigation and information that is released through the media could have a detrimental or certainly influence the investigation, we will encourage people ‘do please hold off until we can do our investigative part’".
Meanwhile, at least one Calgary social agency is coming out in support of the city police.
Kevin McNichol, the executive director of Homefront, says it's a tragic situation.
But he adds it's important to remember the police deal with some 16,000 domestic violence complaints each year.
"On top of all the hundreds of thousands of calls that they have to respond to every day or every year and those calls are all cued up to those front-line officers, so they have a very narrow window in which to determine: is there a problem and how can I help," McNichul explained. "I can only hope that and I believe that the police acted as far as they were able to act with this case and certainly they are going to investigate that and learn from that and ask hard questions about what else they could do."
Kristopher Guenther makes his first court appearance Wednesday morning.