Man shot in leg by Fort McMurray Mountie was armed with airsoft gun: ASIRT

The incident began when an officer located a stolen vehicle stuck in a snow bank believed to be involved in a recent hit-and-run.

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A man who was shot by an RCMP police officer earlier this month was driving a stolen vehicle and had an airsoft handgun that looked close to a real weapon, Alberta’s police watchdog says.

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The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) is investigating the shooting, which took place on Jan. 11 at around 9 a.m. near the Confederation Way and Highway 63 exit.

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ASIRT said in a Thursday news release that the incident began when an officer noticed the vehicle was stuck in a snowy embankment off the side of Highway 63. The officer believed the vehicle was involved in a recent hit-and-run collision. Investigators had already concluded the collision involved a stolen vehicle.

The officer walked towards the vehicle and ASIRT says “an altercation” with the driver started. ASIRT is investigating the nature of what happened next, but the incident ended with the officer shooting the man in the leg.

An ambulance took the driver of the vehicle to the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre for treatment. While searching the vehicle, police found a black airsoft gun meant to look like a Glock handgun.

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ASIRT’s investigation is focusing on the officer’s use of force and are looking for any witnesses of the incident. ASIRT investigates cases where people are seriously hurt or killed during interactions with police, as well as serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct. The results of ASIRT’s investigation are made public once they are completed.

Any witnesses to the incident, especially anyone with dashcam footage, is asked to contact ASIRT at 780-644-1483. Anyone with information about any missing people or criminal activity is asked to contact Wood Buffalo RCMP at 780-788-4040 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS). Tips to Crime Stoppers are always anonymous and can be sent to tipsubmit.com. Tips can also be sent to ASIRT at 780-644-1483.

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