Woman shot dead by Calgary police was armed with 2 knives, officials say

A 27-year-old woman who was shot to death by Calgary police early Tuesday morning was armed with two knives and was acting erratically, officials say.

27-year-old was acting erratically, police say

A woman who was fatally shot by police in Calgary on Tuesday was armed with these two knives, according to ASIRT. (ASIRT)

A woman who was shot to death by Calgary police early Tuesday morning in Sunalta was armed with two knives and acting erratically, officials say.

Police were called to the 1700 block of 11th Avenue S.W. at 2:30 a.m. to check on the welfare of a woman.

When officers approached the area, they spotted a woman further down the road, "banging on car windows and building doors, carrying two knives, one in each hand," said the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), which is now investigating.

An officer who has been with the force for one year fired her gun at the 27-year-old, police said. She was taken to hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

No officers were injured during the incident, police said.

Roads in the area of 11th Avenue and 17th Street S.W. were closed as a result of the shooting. (Colleen Underwood/CBC)

10th police shooting

This is the 10th shooting by Calgary police in 2016 that has either injured or killed someone. Five, including this morning's shooting, have been fatal.

A press conference Tuesday afternoon, police Chief Roger Chaffin said he believes the officer who fired her weapon acted appropriately "to protect herself, her partner and members of the public."

The woman was known to police, Chaffin said. 

​"Each level of force is really based on the merits of the situation they're faced with — the space they're in, the time they have, the information they have leading to their interaction with somebody. So, they're all very challenging and dynamic, and as you can appreciate, oftentimes it's based on the behaviour of the offender."

'Nice, normal girl'

Raine McLeod, a neighbour of the woman who was killed, says it seems to her that police overreacted. 

"I was appalled and disgusted and absolutely shocked that they would have to use that kind of force, or they would determine that kind of force was required," she said.

"She was always really nice in the hallway. We knew each others' names. Our dogs liked each other. She was pleasant. She never seemed threatening or scary or anything like that. She seemed like a nice, normal girl."

'Chaotic situations'

With 10 officer-involved shootings so far this year, the Calgary Police Service has shot more civilians than officers in any other Canadian city in 2016, according to statistics gathered by CBC News.

Last week, Terrence Weinmeyer, 49, was shot dead by police in northwest Calgary.

Police say the man, who had a lengthy criminal history, rammed a police vehicle with a stolen pickup truck in the moments leading up to the fatal shooting.

Chaffin acknowledged that the recent spate of officer-involved shootings is worrisome. 

"This is an unsettling trend for the public and for our members who place their lives on the line every day," he said. 

Police in Calgary are confronted with increasingly unpredictable situations, fueled in part by a growing prevalence of methamphetamines and opioids. 

"Until we get on top of that problem, our officers are faced with more and more chaotic situations," he said.