Several blocks in downtown Edmonton were cordoned off today as police dealt with a hostage taking at the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) building on 107 Street and 99 Avenue.
One witness, a WCB employee who didn’t want her name used, saw a Caucasian male with a suntan carrying a large gun into the building at about 8:45 a.m.
“He motioned to all of us and said, ‘all these girls over here now,’” the witness said.” We didn’t, we just dropped down and crawled out to the back hallway which was secure.”
Shortly after the gunman entered the building the witness said she heard a loud bang.
“I did hear a shot about 30 seconds to a minute after he walked into the building," she said. “I heard a shot go off. We think he shot upward into the ceiling.”
Police are not confirming that a shot was fired or how many hostages are still in the building but they are in contact with the gunman and negotiations are ongoing.
“Our officers are currently speaking with the man in attempts to bring this to a peaceful conclusion,” said Edmonton Police spokesperson, Jeff Wuite. “Right now we do know he is in the building, we do believe he does have a rifle, and we do believe he has hostages at this time.”
Family members and friends have been calling 9-1-1 throughout the day trying to get information about who is still in the building. Police are asking anyone who needs information about a family member to phone 780-421-3550.