Man killed in police standoff was going to RCMP detachment

A 59-year-old man killed in a confrontation with police in Vegreville, Alta., on the weekend was agitated and on his way to the RCMP detachment when the shooting occurred, says an investigator.

The man who was killed in a police standoff in Vegreville, Alta. Saturday was agitated and on his way to the local RCMP detachment, an investigator said Monday.

Leo Raymond Poulin, 59,  was shot three times in the chest by police in a Vegreville parking lot after he ignored their orders to put down a loaded shotgun. 

His wife called the Vegreville RCMP on Saturday evening after he left the house, said Clifton Purvis, director of the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, the independent agency which investigates incidents involving police that result in death or serious injury. According to Purvis, she told police that Poulin was headed for the RCMP detachment.

"His wife reported he appeared agitated.  It was determined it was necessary for the police to become involved, " Purvis said. "It is reported that he had recently stopped taking his medication and suffered from depression."

Poulin had no criminal history, and had no dealings with police, other than receiving a speeding ticket two weeks ago. 

The officer who fired the gun has been an RCMP member for 18 months.

Man ignored repeated warnings: witnesses

Michele Clemens, who said she saw the entire incident from across the street, heard police tell the man to put down the weapon "at least eight times."

"He was staggering, wouldn't put the gun down," Clemens said.  "Even after he was shot, he didn't put the gun down."

Clemens was among several area residents who witnessed police shooting Poulin at about 7 p.m. Saturday. She said she didn't see the man raise the gun, but heard the three shots.

Police confronted the man in a parking lot beside the Vegreville post office following a high speed chase along the town's main street. 

Dave Bugera, who witnessed the incident from his balcony across the street, said he saw two officers jump out of police cars that surrounded a black Jeep in the parking lot.

"The cops were yelling, 'Drop your weapons, drop your weapons.'  The guy wouldn't drop his gun. He was throwing it around in the air aiming it at people. And then he walked to the back of his vehicle and they told him again, 'Drop your weapon,'" Bugera told CBC News on Sunday.

Bugera said he then saw the man walk toward the post office.

"The cops gave him one more final warning, said, 'Drop your weapon' and then I heard three shots," he said. "I didn't actually see the shots hit him, 'cause like I said that tree obstructed my view, but I heard three shots and then I came, stepped right out here and I seen him laying on the ground."

Jim Bragg also heard gunshots and ran out of his house with his video camera.  In his footage, a man is seen lying on the ground while police officers pace back and forth.  Bragg said he couldn't believe what he was seeing.

"This is something you would think you'd see in Vancouver, or Edmonton, or Calgary.  But not Vegreville," he said.

Vegreville is 100 kilometres east of Edmonton.