VEGREVILLE, Alta. — The probe into an RCMP shooting of a man on Christmas Day in Alberta has taken an unusual twist, with investigators alleging the suspect called police on himself to report a phoney bank robbery.
RCMP say the officers were called to the TD Bank on Thursday in Vegreville, where police say they were forced to shoot a man.
A provincial watchdog agency is investigating the shooting and said on Friday that a firearm recovered at the scene turned out to be a replica and the robbery report was false.
The agency said Mounties would continue to handle the investigation into the false report.
RCMP now say they’ve charged the 22-year-old man with possession of weapon dangerous to the public and public mischief.
His injuries were not life-threatening and police say he will appear in court in Edmonton on Monday afternoon.
Const. Jason Curtis said the public mischief charge stems from the alleged fake robbery report.
“I can’t guess as to what his intention was,” Curtis said on Saturday when asked about the possible motive.
Police said the man, who they have not identified, is expected to be released from hospital soon but that he will remain a prisoner until his court appearance.
Curtis said he was not aware if the man was previously known to police.
RCMP stated in an earlier news release that officers were confronted by the man when they responded to the robbery report and that officers shot him “due to situational factors.”
“He did become confrontational immediately when members arrived, which ended up with him being shot,” Curtis said.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, the watchdog agency, said the man was alone and that RCMP fired one shot.
The agency’s mandate is to investigate incidents involving Alberta’s police that have resulted in serious in jury or death, as well as serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct.
RCMP said the provincial team would also investigate another police shooting on Dec. 26 where police say two Mounties fired their weapons during a traffic stop in Whitecourt, Alta. Police say the suspect vehicle fled and collided with another vehicle, where the driver was arrested and taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
They say no other members of the public were hurt.