A woman who says she witnessed a police officer fatally shoot a robbery suspect yesterday alleges the man was unarmed and had his hands up before he was shot.
Rita Desjarlais said she was in her basement suite of the apartment building at 10207 - 107 Ave. and said she was watching TV before some screaming brought her to her front window.
“They shot him for nothing,” said Desjarlais, who said she spoke with police investigators for hours about what she saw.
“He had his hands in the air and she (a female police officer) shot him and he was dead right there.”
Desjarlais said one of the police officers was holding the suspect before he was told by a female police officer to lift his hands in the air.
“And he did, and when he was putting his hands in the air, she shot him … and then he was dead.”
Desjarlais said the man was a white male and he wasn’t wearing a shirt. She also noticed him many times around the neighbourhood before, she said.
“I can’t confirm that happened, but that is an aspect we will be looking into in the investigation,” said Clifton Purvis, an executive director with the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), to reporters.
Police said a 37-year-old robbery suspect died in the Royal Alexandra Hospital from two gunshot wounds.
Police alleged the man and a female were involved a personal robbery sometime before the man was shot in front of the apartment building shortly before 1:50 a.m. ASIRT, which handles serious incidents involving police services in the province, took over the case around 3 a.m., said Purvis.
Purvis said the man was shot in the hip and chest and the two constables treated the suspect with first aid immediately after he was shot.
Both constables — a female with one year of service and a male with 10 years of service — were treated in hospital as a precautionary measure as their blood may have become contaminated during the struggle, Purvis said.
Purvis said ASIRT is still investigating the shooting and it is trying to determine if the suspect was reaching for a police officer’s gun during the melee.
The female suspect is currently in custody and she has already spoken with investigators about the shooting, Purvis said.
“We are receiving the full support of the Edmonton Police Service,” said Purvis.
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