Edmonton officers shot multiple times before mother and son struggled over gun — many questions still unanswered in investigation
EDMONTON—After two police officers were fatally shot, the teenager who’d fired at them struggled with his mother over the firearm before shooting her and, finally, turning the gun on himself, police say.
In an update Friday afternoon, police provided new details on the deaths of Edmonton constables Travis Jordan, 35 and Brett Ryan, 30, who were gunned down in the early hours of Thursday after being called to a family dispute at an apartment in the city’s northwest.
They were both shot multiple times by the 16-year-old male and “immediately incapacitated” before they could draw their own weapons. While the youth was known to police — but had never been charged with an offence — authorities say the officers had no indication that he had a gun that night.
With both officers down, a struggle ensued between the youth and his 55-year-old mother over the firearm, police say. They say the son shot his mother before taking his own life. She remains in hospital in stable condition but remains unresponsive.
The teen’s father, 73, was not injured and is co-operating with police, authorities said.
On day two of the investigation, major questions remained.
Police have not named any of the residents of the suite where the incident took place. They have also declined to say what kind of gun was used, or how a teen had ended up with a firearm at all — “certainly, there’s just way too many guns in our city right now,” Devin Laforce, deputy chief of the EPS Investigations Bureau, told media.
The youth had multiple non-criminal interactions with police, including a mental health complaint, but police said they didn’t have any further details. Because he died in the presence of police, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team will be overseeing the investigation.
Questions have also been raised about a shooting last week at a small Pizza Hut sandwiched between a jeweller and pharmacy less than a kilometre away from the apartment complex, in which a man shot an employee, seriously injuring him, then fled. A suspect was never identified and some media reports said Friday it was the same 16-year-old. While police told the media briefing they were investigating a link, for now they are being treated as two separate investigations, authorities said.
“I don’t have any knowledge to say that that person came up at all regarding any of those crimes in that area,” Laforce said.
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During a busy lunch hour, a manager told the Star the employee that was shot last Sunday was recovering and stable. A person who was identified as the owner later arrived and told reporters he was not able to provide any more information on the incident. Pizza Hut’s media line did not respond to a request for comment by publication time.
On Friday, officers were milling in and out of the apartment building where the violent incident had occurred, as several police cruisers and a forensic truck were parked outside of the building that was still encircled in police tape.
Residents cautiously avoided the tape as small puddles formed on the ground from the melted snow. At one point, a woman and her family approached a police truck to offer coffee and doughnuts — she said they were not from the area, but appreciated the efforts of police in keeping Edmontonians safe.
“In times like these putting on the uniform is no easy task,” Laforce said. “Reminders of constables Jordan and Ryan are everywhere. But our members have an unwavering sense of duty and dedication to Edmontonians and the safety of our city.”
The shooting — the first killing of an Edmonton officer since 2015 — has stunned the Alberta capital. City landmarks, including city hall, the High Level Bridge, Muttart Conservatory, Commonwealth Stadium and the Walterdale Bridge were all lit with blue lights Thursday night in honour of the two officers, and flags at the legislature, government buildings and police detachments have been lowered to half mast.
Condolence books were set up Friday at Edmonton City Hall for people to pay their respects. Online fundraisers have been organized for the families of the officers by the Edmonton Police Association and the Alberta Paramedic Association.
The two officers reached the apartment building in Edmonton’s Inglewood neighbourhood just before 1 a.m. Thursday and were shot shortly after approaching the suite, police say.
One of them was bundled into a police cruiser and taken to hospital by his own colleagues, while the other was transported in an ambulance where both were pronounced dead. Autopsies for the two officers will be done this weekend, while the youth is scheduled for next Wednesday.
Jordan, originally from Nova Scotia, had been an officer for eight and a half years. He has been remembered for his kindness — including during the early months of the pandemic, when he offered to help a woman clear the snow off her car instead of ticketing her, in a moment that was caught on camera and widely shared online, earning him the nickname the “snow angel.”
Ryan was a longtime minor hockey referee and former paramedic who was described by one friend as “wired” to help others. He was about to become a father.
With files from The Canadian Press
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