Two Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers were seriously wounded Saturday, with one suffering life-threatening injuries, after they were shot at a casino in the central Alberta city of St. Albert.
The RCMP said the suspect in the shootings was found dead by police in a private residence in a rural area east of St. Albert where police had tracked him after the shootings. RCMP said the suspect had apparently forced his way into the home about three miles (five kilometers) from the casino. There was no one else in the home.
RCMP Assistant Commissioner Marlin Degrand said officers never spoke to the suspect when they entered the residence, nor did they fire their weapons.
Police have tentatively identified the suspect, and are working to confirm this information. Degrand said he was known to police.
The RCMP said Constable David Matthew Wynn, 42 is in “life-threatening condition,” while Auxiliary Constable Derek Walter Bond, 49, remains in serious but stable condition.
Degrand said a routine investigation into a suspicious vehicle led the two officers to the Apex Casino in an industrial area around 3 a.m. Saturday. The officers determined the vehicle had been stolen, and went inside the casino to look for suspects, quickly coming under fire.
The officers were hit before they had a chance to fire back at the suspect, who fled the scene, Degrand said. Police tracked the suspect — described as a white male, aged 25 to 35 — to an area southeast of the Sturgeon Valley Golf, not far from the casino, several hours later. Mounties blocked off several roads to a large wooded area near the golf course, while a helicopter flew overhead.
“This incident serves to remind us all of the dangers that our front-line responders everywhere face in the performance of their duties,” Degrand said.
St. Albert is an affluent community of about 60,000 bordering Edmonton’s city limits to the northwest where the national RCMP force handles policing.
RCMP said they cannot release information on the number of witnesses at the scene or the number of shots fired, as the shootings remain part of an active investigation.
“Canada’s thoughts prayers are with RCMP Alberta officers today as they deal with an ongoing shooting investigation in the St. Albert area,” Harper’s tweet read.
In June, a man used a semi-automatic rifle to fatally shoot three RCMP officers and wound two others in Moncton, New Brunswick. Justin Bourque, 24, was sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole for 75 years. In a videotaped statement to police, Bourque said he wanted to encourage people to rise up against the “soldiers” that defend federal institutions and protect the rich from the poor. He was found mentally fit to stand trial.
Bourque’s sentence was the harshest in Canada since its last executions in 1962.
The deadly attack on the national police force, a vaunted Canadian institution, shook the country.
It was the deadliest attack on the RCMP since four officers were killed by a gunman in Alberta in 2005. That attack remains the deadliest on Canadian police officers in 120 years.
Associated Press writer Charmaine Noronha in Toronto contributed to this report.