Anthony Heffernan's death raises questions for family

The family of a man shot and killed by Calgary police earlier this week have some questions they want answered.

Family of man shot by police at Super 8 say they are searching for answers

Anthony Heffernan was shot by police at a motel in northeast Calgary. (Submitted by family)

The family of a man shot and killed by Calgary police earlier this week in the city's northeast have questions they want answered.

Anthony Heffernan died in the Super 8 motel on Barlow Trail after police forcibly entered the room in which he was staying.

Calgary police and EMS attend the scene of a fatal shooting at a hotel in the 3000 block of Barlow Trail N.E. (CBC)

They were called to the scene for reports of a man behaving strangely.

When officers approached the motel room, a lock on the door prevented police from entering but they were able to see the man was agitated and in medical distress. Once inside, officers say they were confronted with a high-risk situation that escalated to the point where a firearm was discharged.

Police officers were uninjured and the man died at the scene.

Struggles with addiction

In a written statement, the family say they were told five officers attended the scene and Heffernan was holding a lighter in one hand and a syringe in the other when he was shot. 

Anthony Heffernan, at right, stands with his family. He was the youngest of five children and was raised on an acreage in Saskatchewan. (Submitted by Heffernan family)

"Like many people with addiction issues he struggled and fought to keep himself clean," said his family in the statement. "High functioning and ambitious, his day-to-day life and career were not normally impacted by his problems, but occasionally on his days off he struggled. He hated it."

They say there are many questions that need to be addressed, like why the officers were unable to subdue an unarmed man without using deadly force.

The family has requested privacy while they grieve Heffernan's death.

"Anthony was exuberant, energetic and full of charisma," said his family. "Anthony was deeply loved and constantly entertained his brothers and sister with his amazing sense of humour and passion for life."

Calgary police say they are not commenting on the case since it is being investigated by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team.

ASIRT investigates incidents involving serious injury or death that may be attributed by the actions of a police officer.