Alberta’s police watchdog identifies person fatally shot by Calgary police as 20-year-old woman

ASIRT said responding officers went to the third floor of the hotel to respond to a call placed by a woman, believed to be the victim, who ‘sounded distressed’ and was threatening self-harm

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Alberta’s police watchdog says two Calgary officers fatally shot a 20-year-old woman in a city hotel after she appeared with a firearm, later identified as a “replica handgun pellet pistol.”

The incident took place around 4 p.m. on Wednesday at the Nuvo Hotel, at 827 12th Ave. S.W., after police were called to the Beltline hotel for reports of a weapon.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), which probes instances of serious injury or death involving police, was directed to investigate on Wednesday and released some details Thursday about how events unfolded.

ASIRT said responding officers went to the third floor of the hotel to respond to a call placed by a woman, believed to be the victim, who “sounded distressed” and threatened self-harm.

A woman appeared in the doorway when police approached the room. She quickly went back inside before returning with what appeared to be a black handgun, ASIRT determined after reviewing footage from a body-worn camera.

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A replica handgun pellet pistol found at the scene of a Calgary Police Service officer-involved shooting in Calgary on March 3, 2021 is shown in a photo released March 4, 2021, by ASIRT. The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) was directed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of a 20-year-old woman during an encounter with members of the Calgary Police Service (CPS).
A replica handgun pellet pistol found at the scene of a Calgary Police Service officer-involved shooting in Calgary on March 3, 2021 is shown in a photo released March 4, 2021, by ASIRT. The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) was directed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of a 20-year-old woman during an encounter with members of the Calgary Police Service (CPS). Photo by Supplied by ASIRT

It is unclear what happened next.

“Further details regarding what the woman may have done with the handgun or what occurred thereafter are being withheld pending additional possible interviews,” ASIRT said in a statement.

“However, shortly thereafter, two officers discharged their service pistols. The woman was struck and fell back into the room.”

Officers determined she was dead after they entered the room, which is where the replica handgun was recovered.

No officers were injured.

Calgary Police Service Chief Mark Neufeld said the situation was “extremely dynamic” and “unfolded quickly.”

Mark Neufeld, Calgary Police Chief, speaks to reporters after a day of discussion at City Hall on future policing budgets in Calgary. Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020.
Mark Neufeld, Calgary Police Chief, speaks to reporters after a day of discussion at City Hall on future policing budgets in Calgary. Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. Photo by Brendan Miller/Postmedia

He said officers were given little information when responding to the call but believed a handgun was involved.

“When they arrived there, they purposely did not go up to or into that room. They were very concerned about the potential for violence if they were to do that,” said Neufeld, adding there were less-lethal options available.

“The tactics that were put in place to try to manage this safely and get this to a place through empathetic, compassionate, reassuring communication — those things were in place and, at a point, they didn’t work any longer.”

Neufeld said he was unable to offer many details because the ASIRT investigation is ongoing.

The Calgary Police Service is fully co-operating with the watchdog’s probe, he added.

“Based on my understanding and knowledge of the investigation, I’m confident the investigation will ultimately demonstrate our officers conducted themselves appropriately, reacting in the best interests of public safety,” said Neufeld.

alsmith@postmedia.com

Twitter: alanna_smithh

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