Const. David Wynn, the RCMP officer who was shot in the head while trying to arrest a suspect in a casino outside of Edmonton, is not expected to survive.

Wynn and Aux. Const. Derek Bond were both shot at close range while arresting a suspect about a stolen car at the Apex Casino in St. Albert, Alta., Saturday morning.

Both officers were taken to hospital with severe injuries. Bond, who was shot in the right arm and torso, was released Saturday night, while Wynn has not regained consciousness. 

'David came in contact and touched the lives of a lot of people in a very positive way.' -  Michael Conklin, friend

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson defended the officers’ approach to the arrest, saying it "happened in the blink of an eye in a public place."

"They had no idea who this person was. None whatsoever. There is no way we could expect these officers would know the kind of threat that was walking around inside that casino."

Paulson said the suspected shooter, Shawn Maxwell Rehn, had an extensive criminal history involving "a labyrinth" of firearms and violence charges. He added Rehn was under a lifetime weapon prohibition because of previous convictions.

He called for a review of why the shooter was allowed to be free and how he got the gun into the casino.

"I've been in policing for 30 years and I've not seen the likes of what I've seen here,” he said.

"We need to understand if it was reasonable for this man to be walking around us."

He said the two officers were well-equipped and that it was "not a firepower issue." The RCMP previously confirmed that Bond, as an auxiliary constable, did not carry a firearm but was equipped with pepper spray and a baton.

Rehn fled the scene of the shooting. He was found dead in an unoccupied rural home hours later.

‘One of the nicest guys I know’

Wynn moved to Alberta to pursue his “lifelong dream” of being an RCMP officer, friends tell CBC News. St. Albert was the officer’s first post with the Mounties.


Flowers and letters left outside the RCMP detatchment in St. Albert, Alta. form an impromptu memorial following the shooting of two RCMP officers Saturday. (Leah Larocque/CBC)

"David came in contact and touched the lives of a lot of people in a very positive way," said Michael Conklin, who knew Wynn when he lived in Bridgewater, N.S., eight years ago.

Conklin said Wynn, who juggled working as a paramedic with raising his three young sons, still found time to volunteer with the community.

"He was a very busy parent when he was here," he said.

Those who worked with Wynn when he was in Bridgewater praised his calm demeanour and dedication to his work. Ismael Aquino, provincial director of the Red Cross in Nova Scotia, remembers when he first spoke to Wynn. The paramedic called him on the evening of Sept. 2, 1998, looking to mobilize ambulances to search for survivors when Swissair Flight 111 crashed off the coast of the province.

"Dave is just a very calm and kind person,” Aquino said.

"He was just sort of the right person to be on the scene for that particular situation."

He said Wynn’s desire to join the RCMP was the same thing that drew him to work as a paramedic — a desire to help others.

"[Wynn is] just one of the nicest guys I knew," he said. "[It is] just another extension of what he had passion for."

Wynn continued his volunteer work once moving to Edmonton. As an RCMP officer, he worked closely with schools in St. Albert, helping lead anti-drug programs for students.

He worked at Keenooshayo Elementary School for about five years.

"He has such a rapport with students," said Paula Power, St. Albert Public Schools spokesperson. "The students really look up to him, really respect him and love having him in the school."

The RCMP officer is a favourite among the kids who often posed for photos and took time to meet with parents, said school board chair Cheryl Dumount.

"He was a delightful man," Dumont said. "One who was really dedicated to the work he was doing."

She said he also volunteers elsewhere in St. Albert, and called Wynn’s injury a "big loss: for the school and the community."