April 13th, 2024

‘Actively shooting’: Residents told to seek shelter as Calgary standoff continues

By Bill Graveland and Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press on March 15, 2024.

Police vehicles at Calgary Police Service headquarters in Calgary on Thursday, April 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

CALGARY – An armed standoff at a home in east Calgary passed the 24-hour mark Friday with the suspect inside continuing to fire rounds at police while more area residents were directed to leave for their safety.

The standoff also continued to compromise commuter traffic, forcing the partial shutdown of a key cross-town thoroughfare for much of the day.

“The suspect is actively shooting at the Calgary Police Service,” police Supt. Joe Brar told reporters at a late afternoon briefing.

“The risk level remains the same and is extremely high to both the public and the officers.”

No one had been injured as of the afternoon update.

At the house in Penbrooke Meadows, a black police helicopter circled above.

The sound of someone speaking through a bullhorn could be heard and flash bangs and tear gas cannisters continued to be shot near the home.

A police officer directed traffic nearby, ordering vehicles to turn around.

“You really don’t want to be here,” the officer told reporters.

Why not? he was asked.

What sounded like two loud gunshots were then heard in quick succession, seemingly nearby.

“That’s why,” said the officer.

Brar said they’re continuing to negotiate with the man to resolve the situation safely.

Nearby, part of the Memorial Drive commuter route remained closed. A bright orange “road closed” sign along with pylons prevented vehicles from going through.

The standoff began around 3:30 p.m. Thursday when tactical officers were executing a search warrant on a weapons offence at the house and came under fire.

Residents in surrounding homes were urged to shelter in place while others seeking to get home inside the security area were kept out and told to find accommodations elsewhere.

Brar said the security zone was being expanded in case the situation escalates.

He said the goal is a peaceful resolution but warned police won’t wait forever.

Emergency staff have set up at a nearby leisure centre so displaced residents can get snacks, water, showers as well as mental health support. They were also encouraged to call the police non-emergency line for help and advice.

Brar said he couldn’t disclose how many officers were working at the scene or how many residents had been affected.

Police said area schools remained open and safe, but that people would have to take an alternate route to get to two of them.

Brar apologized to residents.

“We understand this event is a significant impact on the community for both the perception of public safety and inconvenience,” he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 15, 2024.

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