Winnipeg police say they shot armed male outside West End 7-Eleven
Officers were responding to commercial robbery report at Arlington and Ellice
Manitoba's police watchdog is investigating after Winnipeg police say they shot an armed male outside a convenience store in the city's West End Thursday night.
Police had the exterior of the 7-Eleven near the corner of Arlington Street and Ellice Avenue taped off late into the night and several police cars could be seen nearby.
Blood on the pavement could be seen outside the store. A display stand inside the store was knocked over and large cracks were visible on the glass front door.
At least two witnesses recorded video of the incident.
In one, shot from a moving vehicle and posted to the Facebook page of Kachina Desjarlais, a male can be seen exiting the store with his right arm raised. He is confronted by police before the vehicle moves out of visual contact, at which point nine shots can be heard in rapid succession.
In another video, shot by Clifford Boulanger, he remarks that a male is inside the 7-Eleven with a machete as sirens blare in the background.
Watch Clifford Boulanger's video (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT):
A police officer approaches the door and the male exits the building, raising something above his head as officers yell "drop the knife."
Police then fire several shots at the male, and he falls to the ground. Officers can then be seen surrounding him.
Boulanger told CBC News he saw a male standing inside the 7-Eleven with a machete at about 5:30 p.m. when he was heading home from work.
Police arrived and the male came out holding the machete in the air, Boulanger said. He said police repeatedly told him to put the weapon down, but he refused and police opened fire. He said he heard about five shots.
"I was just very stunned," he said.
"Winnipeg is getting crazy, it's getting worse. It's sad, it's really sad what's happening to Winnipeg. It used to be a very beautiful city and things are getting out of hand."
Robert Korosil, who lives nearby, said he heard police sirens from his home.
Watching from his window, he said he also saw police fire shots at a male suspect who came out of the store with a weapon held above his head. He said he heard police demand the male to lower his weapon, but he refused.
Korosil said the store's doors are locked and customers need to ask a clerk to buzz them in and out. He said it looked like the male was attempting to break the window to get out.
"It just happened so quickly," he said.
"Cops did what they had to do I guess. There's a lot of people who were around that he could have attacked."
'No other choice'
Police spokesperson Const. Rob Carver said multiple police officers responded to a report of a commercial robbery at the 7-Eleven at about 5:35 p.m.
He said officers encountered an armed male, and an officer was forced to discharge a weapon. The male was taken to hospital in critical condition.
Carver said the officer wouldn't have fired a weapon if they felt they had another option.
"There's simply no other choice. Nobody's making a decision to use their firearm if they think there's another option," he said.
Carver couldn't offer an update on the male's condition when he spoke to media Thursday night.
One officer was also injured during the incident. The officer was taken to hospital and has since been released, Carver said.
The Independent Investigation Unit has been notified and will be responsible for the remainder of the investigation, Carver said.
Carver also said those who got close enough to take videos of the shooting while it was in progress were putting themselves in danger.
"I don't know what I'm gonna say when someone thinks it's really important to take out their cellphone and record an incident and they get injured. They're putting themselves in a dangerous situation," he said.
"And our officers do not have the time … to look around and say, 'Hey you need to move back over there with your cellphone because it could be dangerous.' I think it should go without saying, and I think at some point someone's going to get hurt."
With files from Holly Caruk