Alberta man in custody after peace officer dies
RCMP investigating on property west of Calgary near Priddis
A southern Alberta peace officer is dead and a man who lives near the community of Priddis has been taken into police custody.
Former Mountie Rod Lazenby was dropped off at a southeast Calgary police station in his own SUV on Friday morning. He was taken to hospital in critical condition, but was pronounced dead on arrival.
The peace officer was driven to the District 8 station by a "person of interest," who turned himself in to police, according to RCMP. That man is in custody, but no charges have been laid.
An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.
The Foothills District peace officer was one of two enforcement officers for the area. The officers have authority to enforce certain laws and regulations.
RCMP officers are conducting an investigation at an acreage two kilometres north of Priddis, which they are calling a protected crime scene.
A neighbour told CBC News that the man in custody and Lazenby knew each other. The man in custody, who lives on the property near Priddis, owns several dogs, which he keeps in a Quonset hut, that have been the subject of complaints from neighbours.
The neighbour said officials have removed dogs from the property in the past.
Priddis is a 15-minute drive southwest of Calgary.
Lazenby’s RCMP work
In Ontario, Lazenby was an undercover RCMP officer, pretending to be a high-ranking mobster.
Media reports of the 2002 murder trial for Andre J. Jeanvenne detail how Lazenby was able to deceive the Ontario man by posing as Rod Calabria, an Italian-accented member of organized crime.
Lazenby testified that he spent big money on food and alcohol and even took Jeanvenne to a strip club to get him to talk.
Tributes to Lazenby
Meanwhile, condolences continue to pour in for the former Mountie.
Lazenby worked for the M.D. of Foothills for more than three years, according to Bill Robinson, the district’s municipal treasurer.
Robinson told CBC News that Lazenby was likeable, good with the public and fair with his investigations.
Alberta's Solicitor General Jonathan Denis expressed his condolences in a statement issued Friday.
"Tragedies such as this remind us all of the selfless acts peace and police officers make to protect our safety each and every day," said Denis.
"On behalf of all Albertans, I want to recognize Mr. Lazenby for his service and assure his loved ones that his sacrifice will never be forgotten."
Calgary's police chief also expressed his "deepest sympathies" to Lazenby's family and friends Friday night.
"Officer Lazenby will not be forgotten by the members of law enforcement families across Canada. He truly was a member of a larger family; one that grieves with his family, friends and colleagues," said Chief Rick Hanson in a written statement.
Calgary's Humane Society also offered its condolences in a statement.
"It is an amazing thing peace officers do and situations like this are a stark realization for the capacity of risk these officers endure to protect the welfare of animals everyday," according to the e-mail sent to CBC.