Two Edmonton police officers will not face criminal charges in the shooting death of a robbery suspect last year, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team announced Wednesday.
"After having reviewed the investigative file and after having considered the opinion of Crown Counsel, I have determined that the actions of the Edmonton police officers involved in this incident were justified," said ASIRT executive director Clifton Purvis.
Shawn Michael Price was shot on May 10, 2009, at 102nd Street and 107th Avenue, just north of downtown Edmonton.
Officers were trying to arrest him for attempted robbery. He was known to police, Purvis said, and was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant.
According to ASIRT, Price tried to grab one officer's gun from its holster during the arrest. The officers struggled and at one point, one of the officers hit Price with her baton, while her partner kept both hands on Price's hand to keep him from taking the gun.
"The female police officer was fearful that if Mr. Price gained control of her partner's gun that he may shoot him or other individuals in the area," Purvis said.
The officer then shot Price in the hip. But struggle continued and both Price and her partner fell to the ground.
"Mr. Price continued to attempt to remove her partner's service pistol and had his hands on the butt of the gun and her male partner continued to try and restrain Mr. Price by keeping his hands on top of the butt of his gun," Purvis said.
The officer shot Price again, this time in the back. Price was treated at the scene and later pronounced dead in hospital. Neither officer was hurt.
Purvis said the officer had no option but to use lethal force as other efforts to control Price were unsuccessful.
The male officer was a 10-year veteran of the Edmonton Police Service. His partner was a sworn member of EPS two weeks away from completing her recruit training.
In the course of the investigation, 41 police witnesses and 11 civilian witnesses were interviewed, as well as a number of experts.
Purvis said while civililan eyewitness accounts were helpful, they weren't reliable. Some saw only portions of what happened and many were under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Those accounts were inconsistent, he said.
Investigators forwarded their findings to the Crown Prosecutors' office for review. The prosecutors' office then forwarded an opinion to Purivs, who made the final determination on whether charges should be laid.