The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) is now investigating an officer-involved shooting after an encounter between the Ponoka RCMP and a 39-year-old male in the morning on Feb. 10.
At about 9:35 a.m., RCMP received reports of an agitated male waving a handgun in the air approaching the Ponoka RCMP detachment. The man was then seen near the provincial courthouse. Video footage subsequently viewed by investigators showed that the male was holding an object in his hand.
Officers arrived at the provincial courthouse and located the man. A confrontation between the man and officers resulted in one officer discharging his firearm and striking the male at 9:42 a.m.
Officers on scene provided first aid to the man until emergency medical services arrived. Ponoka EMS and fire services also responded to the scene.
The man was airlifted to hospital by STARS air ambulance, where he remains with critical injuries.
No RCMP officers were injured as a result of the incident.
Investigators found an imitation firearm at the scene.
Ponoka RCMP officers cordoned off the street in front of Ponoka Provincial Court and remained on scene throughout the day.
“Our thoughts are with those affected by this event,” stated an RCMP release.
Ponoka Elementary School and the old ‘Pink School,’ where the Bright Futures Play Academy is housed, are in close proximity to the area the incident took place.
Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) communications manager Vince Burke said that the division had been in contact with the RCMP. WCPS had been advised the incident was resolved quickly and therefore no safety measures were needed.
ASIRT’s investigation will examine the circumstances surrounding the use of force. No additional information will be released.
As part of its ongoing investigation, ASIRT is continuing efforts to identify people who may have witnessed aspects of the confrontation between the man and police. ASIRT is asking anyone who may have been in the area and may have witnessed these events and/or may have video to contact investigators at 403-592-4306.
ASIRT’s mandate is to effectively, independently and objectively investigate incidents involving Alberta’s police that have resulted in serious injury or death to any person, as well as serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct.