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Lethbridge officer cleared in 2015 shooting of knife-wielding teen

ASIRT investigation found officer's use of force was reasonable and justified in circumstances.

ASIRT investigation found officer's use of force was reasonable and justified in circumstances

ASIRT says the knife used by the suspect was stolen from the Safeway meat department. (ASIRT)

Alberta's police watchdog has cleared a Lethbridge officer in the shooting of a knife-wielding teenager more than a year ago.

In October 2015, Lethbridge police responded to a call at a local Safeway. According to ASIRT, a security guard told officers a youth had entered the store, sexually assaulted a woman and grabbed a knife from the meat department before fleeing.

Police found the 17-year-old walking nearby and twice ordered the teen to drop the knife. ASIRT said the teen refused and continued to walk away from police. Two additional officers arrived on the scene.

The youth turned back toward the first officer and "moved on him in a threatening manner," said ASIRT in a release.

'Very real and continuing threat'

Feeling certain his fellow officer was in imminent danger, one of the officers raised his gun to fire, but didn't due to civilians within his eyeline, said ASIRT.

The officer then yelled for the first officer to shoot.

According to ASIRT, the first officer fire four times, striking the teen, who fell to the ground.

The teen was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

ASIRT Executive Director Susan D. Hughson found the officer's use of force was reasonable and justified in the circumstances.

The ASIRT report found at the time of the shooting, the teen presented a "very real and continuing threat to the life of the officer, the lives of fellow officers, and the public at large."

The teen remains before the court facing charges relating to the incident.

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