An RCMP police service dog was killed Thursday in what is still an ongoing situation in northern Alberta involving a suspect who is believed to be armed and dangerous.
RCMP Cpl. Deanna Fontaine said Friday morning police continue to search for a suspect in the area of Winagami Provincial Park — about 30 kilometres northwest of High Prairie, Alta. — following an incident that began Thursday morning.
At about 10:30 a.m. Thursday, RCMP conducted a traffic stop of a man they said had outstanding warrants. The vehicle the suspect was in did not stop, but RCMP said they did not pursue the vehicle for public safety reasons.
At around 11 a.m., police spotted the vehicle turning into the Winagami Provincial Park from Highway 679. RCMP contained and searched the area and found the vehicle abandoned.
Fontaine said the vehicle got stuck in the mud and the suspect fled on foot.
Police, along with a police service dog, attempted to track the man, at which time Fontaine said the dog was killed. Further details about the dog and how it was killed were not provided Friday morning.
“I am saddened to report that during this incident, the police service dog was killed,” Fontaine said.
Police are still searching for the suspect, Lionel Ernest Grey, from the High Prairie area. Fontaine said he is considered armed and dangerous.
Grey is described as 190 pounds, six foot two with black hair and a dark complexion. He is believed to be wearing a black coat and grey sweater.
The RCMP emergency response team, police dog services unit and air services remain on scene in the area of Winagami Provincial Park Friday where the suspect was last seen. The area has been evacuated and the public is being asked to stay away from the park and let police continue their investigation.
“As of this morning, we have ample resources in the area as they continue to search for the suspect,” Fontaine said.
Fontaine could not say how many residents were forced from the area.
“The safety of the general public is our priority. We are asking all residents in the High Prairie area to stay away from police activity, to remain vigilant and to report anything suspicious to police,” she said.
“That area is not a safe place at the moment. Our number one priority is the public. Members of the public that are in an area that is unsafe have been evacuated by police in the area. Any unsafe areas will continue to be evacuated and kept that way at the moment.”
No officers have been injured, Fontaine said.
High Prairie Mayor Brian Panasiuk said the town’s flags have been lowered to honour the police service dog that was killed.
“From the town’s perspective, when we heard that… we consider the dog or the K-9 unit to be a regular RCMP member so we lowered our flags to honour him.”
More information is expected to be provided at 1 p.m. Friday.
High Prairie is located about 365 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.