An investigation by Alberta’s police watchdog has cleared an Okotoks RCMP officer of any wrongdoing in a 2018 incident after they opened fire during an arrest.
The event took place at around 8:20 pm on April 19.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) says RCMP were called to the parking lot of the Okotoks Safeway for reports of a suspicious vehicle.
Arriving officers determined the vehicle, a white 2016 Jeep Cherokee, had been reported stolen and noticed a man slumped over the steering wheel. Upon further observation, it was determined he was sleeping.
According to a report from ASIRTa Mountie approached the vehicle, opened the driver’s side door and woke the driver up, telling him he was under arrest for possession of stolen property.
However, instead of surrendering, the man started the vehicle.
The officer at the driver’s side door attempted to stop the man from driving away, and a “struggle ensued.”
ASIRT says the suspect backed the Jeep up, knocking two officers backward onto the ground.
The Jeep hit a marked RCMP cruiser and the wall of the Safeway, at which time one officer fired a shot that went through the rear passenger window. This did not stop the driver.
The same officer then fired two more rounds; one went through the back window and ASIRT said it’s “unknown” where the second round went.
The Jeep hit a parked vehicle, at which time the officer fired a fourth shot that hit the front driver’s side fender wheel surround.
The vehicle left the Safeway parking lot, and entered a different parking lot, but the suspect got out of the vehicle and ran off.
RCMP arrested the suspect a short distance away.
ASIRT said he didn’t suffer any injuries from the shots fired and none of the officers suffered significant injuries from being knocked to the ground by the Jeep.
One witness interviewed by ASIRT described the driving of the Jeep as “aggressive and dangerous” and indicated they felt the driver was trying to “hurt or kill the officers backing up.”
At the time, Cody Petrie of Calgary was charged with numerous offences, including flight from police, possession of a controlled substance and failure to comply with recognizance.
In his interview with ASIRT, Petrie said he was homeless and a drug addict, and had used fentanyl and methamphetamines that evening, and was high when arrested.
ASIRT found that all of the officers involved were “lawfully placed and acting in the execution of their duties at all material times” and that the officer who fired the shots was “acting properly in the execution of his duties.”
“There is no evidence to support any inference that he engaged in any unlawful or unreasonable conduct that would give rise to an offence. The force used was necessary and reasonable in all the circumstances.”