A 55-year-old woman fought to get the gun away from her son and was shot herself after he killed two Edmonton Police Service officers who were responding to a domestic violence call in their home overnight Thursday.
The police service provided an update Friday on the investigation into the circumstances around the deaths of Const. Travis Jordan, 35, and Const. Brett Ryan, 30, and addressed questions about whether the gunman was also behind a brutal shooting at a Pizza Hut across the street.
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On Thursday at 12:47 a.m., the EPS officers were shot and killed when responding to a domestic violence call at Baywood Apartments — a large complex of three-storey red-brick walk-ups at 114 Avenue and 132 Street, just off Groat Road near Westmount Mall in the Inglewood neighbourhood.
When the two officers arrived, they were met outside of the complex by the suspect’s mother, who called 911.
In their Friday update, police said she was having difficulty with her son and the officers were responding to help with the domestic dispute.
“Family fights are one of the most dangerous responses police do,” said Devin Laforce, the deputy chief of the EPS’ investigations bureau.
“There’s so many variables and dynamics that occur in that situation that you just never know.”
After meeting the mother outside, the two officers went up to the suite where she lived with a 73-year-old man and their 16-year-old son.
Immediately upon arriving at the suite, both officers were shot multiple times by the 16-year-old and were “immediately incapacitated.”
Police said neither officer had time to draw and fire their own guns and they never made it inside the apartment. Laforce said they were wearing body armour.
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A struggle reportedly ensued between the mother and son over the gun, and the suspect shot his mom before turning the weapon on himself, taking his own life.
Police could not say who owned the gun and didn’t say what type of firearm it was, adding that tracing was still being done.
“No information was communicated to our members and we didn’t have any previous information about a gun in that residence,” Laforce said when asked if the mom said when calling 911 that her son had a gun.
Perka said the mom and dad might not have known.
“There’s no information to suggest that the parents were aware that there was a firearm present.”
The father was not injured during the shootings, police said, adding he was in another room and didn’t see the violent confrontations take place.
Following 911 calls by multiple other people in the area, additional police and EMS responded.
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One of the injured officers was carried out to a police cruiser and rushed to the Royal Alexandra Hospital by his colleagues, while the other injured officer was taken by ambulance.
Upon arrival to hospital, both officers were declared dead.
The mother was also taken in critical condition by EMS to hospital, where police said she remains in serious but stable condition.
She is still unconscious but police said they want to talk to her once her condition improves. They added the father is co-operating with the investigation.
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Edmonton police are still investigating if there is a link between the fatal shooting of two of its officers and a shooting four days prior at a pizza place in Westmount Village, just on the other side of Groat Road from the apartment complex.
Surveillance video from the Pizza Hut to go showed a 55-year-old male employee leaning against the front counter on Sunday at 12:25 a.m., looking at his phone, when someone opened the front door.
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The suspect took a step inside the door, lifted a rifle, fired and walked out. The bleeding man fell to the ground and the video ended. The entire interaction took place over the course of just six seconds.
EMS arrived on scene at the takeout restaurant north of Westmount Mall in the Woodcroft neighbourhood, and took the victim to hospital in serious, life-threatening condition.
The suspect was described as wearing a black, bulky coat with a hooded sweater underneath, black pants/jeans that are tight around the calf, black shoes or boots and a multi-coloured face covering.
Police on Friday said while the proximity of the two scenes and use of firearms in both cases leads to questions about a link, investigators could not confirm if the teenager was behind both attacks.
“They’re two separate investigations,” Laforce said.
Laforce and Shane Perka, the superintendent of the criminal investigations division, were questioned extensively on Friday about the two attacks.
“You know, the way those offences were committed, the fact that a firearm is used in both instances, certainly we’re alive to that. It’s certainly being investigated, but unfortunately we still don’t know.
“As soon as we can make any determination, confirmation or not, we will definitely release that.”
Laforce said as far as they knew, the suspect was not wanted in any other criminal cases.
The teen was known to police but did not have a criminal record, Perka said, adding his police interactions in the past were non-criminal.
One of the police responses was categorized as a mental health complaint, but the investigators couldn’t go into the detail.
“As far as, you know, his personal past or his involvement in any systems, we don’t have that information yet,” Perka said.
“There was nothing that flagged this that would require any extra services,” Laforce said of the call Jordan and Ryan responded to overnight Thursday.
“The call itself was a non-violent domestic dispute where a mother is having difficulty with a 16-year-old son,” Laforce said.
“There is nothing to really indicate that this was a dangerous or high threat violent response for our members.”
As the 16-year-old died in the presence of officers, EPS said the director of law enforcement was notified and asked the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) to provide oversight to the investigation being conducted by the EPS homicide section.
Autopsies for both officers will take place over the weekend. The autopsy for the teenager is scheduled for next Wednesday.
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Information on the public portion of the funeral arrangements for the fallen officers will be released as soon as it becomes available, EPS said.
Const. Jordan had been with EPS for 8.5 years and Const. Ryan had been with the service for 5.5 years.
On Friday, the City of Edmonton began allowing citizens to pay their respects to Ryan and Jordan by signing condolence books that have been set up at city hall.
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