Officer who shot fleeing suspect cleared of wrongdoing

An Edmonton constable who shot a man six times after he stabbed a police dog will face no charges, the force announced Friday.

An Edmonton constable who shot a man six times after he stabbed a police dog will face no charges,the forceannounced Friday.

Sgt. Bruce Edwards with Wizzard, the police dog who eventually recovered from stab wounds. ((Edmonton Police Service))

In July 2006, Kirk Steele was being chased by a police dog named Wizzard when he turned and stabbed the animal twice.

Sgt.Bruce Edwards, the dog's handler and a constable at the time, shot Steele twice in the abdomen, twice in the arms, once in his back and once in his buttocks.

The Edmonton police conducted a criminal investigation into the shooting, which was reviewed by the RCMP and then reviewed again by the Crown prosecutor's office in Calgary.

Edmonton police Chief Mike Boyd said Friday thatall parties had cleared Edwards of any wrongdoing.

"All officers acted appropriately and under the circumstances. To be clear, there will be no charges of police misconduct laid," Boyd said.

Edwards was promoted to the rank of sergeant last week.

With the investigation over, Steele was arrested in Calgary Thursday and charged with possession of a weapon, obstructing a police officer and escape from lawful custody.

Incident began outside home in early morning

On July 27, 2006, at about 1:30 a.m., officers spotted four men armed with baseball bats and batons heading into a house. The officers intercepted two of the men and then went inside to investigate.

At that point, a man armed with a knife fled through a bathroom window. Edmonton police said he refused to drop the knife and began running away, so they deployed Wizzard.

As the police dogcaught up tothe man,he turned around and began stabbing the animal. The officer drew his gun because of the potential danger to the public, a police spokeswoman said at the time.

Wizzard, a German shepherd, underwent surgery and returned to duty.

Victimalleged he was shot twice on the ground

Following the shooting, Steele was on life support in hospital for several weeks. When he regained consciousness, he alleged that two of the six shots were fired at him after he fell to the ground.

Kirk Steele spent several weeks in critical condition in an Edmonton hospital after being shot six times. ((Hand-out))

He also alleged that police officers made racist statements toward him during and after the shooting. Boyd said Friday there was no evidence to support those claims.

Shortly after the shooting, Steele's lawyer and his mothersaid heran from police because he had violated parole conditions that required him to be at a halfway house.

Tom Engel, Steele's lawyer, said Friday he'snot surprised by the chief's decision.

"It's no blow at all, because we knew thatthe[police] would do this.It's just a matter of time," Engel told CBC News. "They would exonerate themselves, charge him criminally and then we would go to trial. So it's actually, Isuppose, for a lack of better words, part of the plan."

Engel said he's almost glad his client has now been criminally charged because it means the whole story will come out under oath in court.

Steele is scheduled to be in court Dec. 6.