Innocent bystander shot and killed as Edmonton police confront suspected armed robber

An innocent victim and a robbery suspect are both dead after Edmonton police opened fire on a suspected gunman late Wednesday.

Gunman suspected of robbing liquor store shot dead by police

The Metro on 105 apartment building, at 10724 105th St., was hit by gunfire during a confrontation between police and a suspected armed robber. A man inside an apartment was shot and later died. (Jamie McCannel/CBC)

An innocent victim and a robbery suspect are both dead after Edmonton police opened fire on a suspected gunman late Wednesday.

Police responded to an armed robbery at a downtown Ace Liquor Discounter, at 11354 104th  Ave., around 6:25 p.m., Edmonton Police Service Chief Dale McFee told a news conference Thursday.

Officers chased a suspect who fled on foot.

A confrontation took place at 105th Street and 107th Avenue around 7 p.m. The male suspect was shot and killed by police.

A man in a nearby apartment suite was hit by gunfire. McFee said he was taken to hospital by paramedics where he succumbed to his injuries.

The chief was asked at the news conference how the bystander was shot. 

"I would be guessing. There's so many things that could have happened," McFee said.

"I don't think it's fair to put that speculation right now."

'Not easy news to share'

The chief expressed his condolences to the grieving families.

"This is not easy news to share," McFee said.

"It's difficult for all. It's tragic. Especially something like this … an innocent person not involved in this has lost a life.

"That's not anything anybody's ever signed up for. Those are things that obviously we're going to be looking for the answers on what happened and how it happened."

A hole is visible in the window of a basement apartment. Edmonton police say an innocent bystander was shot inside an apartment late Wednesday. (Jamie McCannel/CBC)

There is a bullet hole in the glass window of a basement suite. The man who lived in the suite was the apartment building resident manager, who had only recently taken the position, according to a Thursday statement from McLeod Realty & Management.

"Last evening, one of our resident managers was accidentally killed in an unbelievable incident," Robert McLeod, the company's president and CEO, said in a statement. "We were excited to be part of his new career and support those efforts. ... We lost a valued colleague and friend." 

'People should feel safe in their own suite'

Neighbours said the sound of multiple gunshots echoed through the area before police rushed to the apartment building.

"All of sudden we just heard bang, bang, bang, bang," said Steven Watkins, who was watching television with his girlfriend in a nearby apartment building. "(It was) this really loud banging sound coming from outside."

 A University of Alberta criminology professor said it's deeply troubling that a bystander was killed.

Temitope Oriola wants to know if officers were being shot at or if they were aware of how close they were to occupied residential apartments.

"The incident raises questions about appropriate and proportional use of force by the (Edmonton police)," Oriola said. "People should feel safe in their own suite."

The Wednesday night incident began at the Ace Liquor store at 113th Street and 104th Avenue. (Jamie McCannel/CBC News)

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) has taken over the investigation. 

Police recovered a weapon at the scene.

McFee was asked at the news conference if police were shot at, but he said he didn't have that level of detail. 

"It's not fair of me to speculate as these things ... get handed over to ASIRT right away," he said.

"Those are answers we'll be waiting to get as well," McFee said.

No officers were injured but they have been temporarily removed from active duty while they get counselling and speak to ASIRT investigators. 

With files from The Canadian Press