Rifle-toting man who terrorized Edmonton motorists doesn't blame cop who shot him

A man who aimed a rifle at motorists in a busy intersection last spring told court Wednesday he doesn't blame the police officer who shot him.

Man who attempted suicide by cop to be sentenced Thursday

Terrified witnesses took these photos of Glenn Ironchild on March 13, 2017. He pointed a rifle with a scope at drivers and police near a busy intersection. (Court exhibits)

A man who aimed a rifle at motorists in a busy intersection last spring told court Wednesday he doesn't blame the police officer who shot him.

Glenn Ironchild stood in the prisoner's box at an Edmonton provincial courtroom and apologized to his family, the public and the police.

"I was selfish for involving the public and putting the public safety at risk," Ironside told court in a halting voice. "I did not think about the shooting officer. I don't blame him for shooting me. He was just doing his job to protect the public safety. I am deeply remorseful."

Just before noon on March 13, 2017, Ironchild carried a rifle along a busy intersection near 137th Avenue and 50th Street. 

He aimed the gun at a number of drivers stopped at traffic lights. He pointed his rifle at two Edmonton Transit buses.

"Many complainants ducked down behind the consoles of their vehicles, as they were fearful that they were going to be killed," according to an agreed statement of facts. "[They] described the accused as happy, smiling or enjoying himself when he was pointing the gun at people."

When Ironchild turned the rifle on police, a constable at the scene fired three shots.

Ironchild, 37, suffered a chest wound.

Guilty pleas to five weapons offences

Ironchild pleaded guilty last October to five weapons offences.

At Wednesday's sentencing hearing, prosecutor Kevin Mark asked for a six-year prison sentence.

"Short of pulling the trigger, this must be one of the worst scenarios possible," he said.

Defence lawyer James Robertson suggested a shorter sentence of four-and-a-half years.

Judge Janet Dixon is expected to hand down her decision on Thursday morning.

In March 2017, Ironchild was "profoundly depressed," his lawyer said. He was abusing drugs and alcohol and had unsuccessfully attempted suicide seven times. One of those tries in 2008 was another attempt at suicide by cop, using a sword as a weapon.

Two weeks before he attempted suicide by cop, Glenn Ironchild posted this photo on his Facebook page. (Court exhibit /Facebook )

On that March morning last year, Ironchild said he "just couldn't shoot himself" and wanted a police officer to shoot him instead.

As more than a dozen family members and friends looked on, Ironchild thanked emergency workers who performed CPR inside the ambulance, saving his life. He also expressed gratitude to hospital staff.

The judge was told Ironchild has been sober for the past year, has completed his high school equivalency and has made religion a part of his life.

"This unfortunate experience has opened my eyes and has given me a second chance at life," Ironchild said. "I take full responsibility for my actions."

About the Author

Janice Johnston

Janice Johnston is an award-winning journalist in Edmonton who has covered the courts and crime for more than two decades. You can reach her at janice.johnston@cbc.ca or on Twitter at @cbcjanjohnston