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RCMP lay charges in connection to fatal Aug. 8 incident near Smoky Lake

A 21-year-old man has been charged with flight from police, dangerous driving, unauthorized possession of firearm, and more, following an Aug. 8 incident that reportedly lead to a confrontation between police and two individuals. According to ASIRT, a woman was declared deceased by EMS, and a man was transported to hospital after the officer involved shooting near Smoky Lake.
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LAKELAND - A 21-year-old man has been charged by RCMP, following an investigation into the events that took place on Aug. 7 and 8, 2022, in the Saddle Lake and Smoky Lake areas.

On Aug. 7, RCMP received a report of a domestic disturbance between two unknown individuals. "After an investigation, RCMP were able to identify the possible involved parties who were also persons of interest in recent criminal investigations," reads an Aug. 24 media release. 

On Aug. 20, a 21-year-old man of Enoch Cree Nation, was charged with flight from police, dangerous driving, possession of a weapon contrary to order (x3), unauthorized possession of firearm, robbery with a firearm, theft over $5,000 and pointing a firearm (x2).

"Following a judicial hearing, the 21-year-old-male was remanded into custody to speak to bail and is scheduled to attend St. Paul Provincial Court on Sept. 1," according to RCMP. "Due to the ongoing ASIRT investigation, the Alberta RCMP is unable to release the name of the accused."

Background

A confrontation on Aug. 8 between two people and the police left one person dead, and another in critical condition, according to the initial RCMP media release.

“St. Paul RCMP located the two suspects in the area of Saddle Lake Cree Nation and an interaction occurred, ultimately leading to a confrontation between police and the suspects that resulted in officers discharging their service weapons in the Smoky Lake area,” reads an RCMP news release sent to media the afternoon of Aug. 8.  

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) became involved and is conducting an investigation into the circumstances of the officer involved shooting.  

On Aug. 11, ASIRT confirmed it was involved in investigating the officer-involved shooting.  

According to the information released by ASIRT, “On Aug. 7, RCMP received a domestic violence complaint. A vehicle was identified as related to this complaint and, at approximately 7:27 a.m. on Aug. 8, RCMP officers located this vehicle.” 

The information further states “When officers attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver fled. Officers pursued and eventually successfully used a tire deflation device. The driver continued at a slower speed and during this stage of the pursuit, an occupant of the vehicle discharged a firearm in the direction of the pursuing officers.” 

The driver went toward the Centrex gas station in Smoky Lake, where a man and woman exited the vehicle. 

“The male was carrying the firearm, and together they stole a truck that was parked at the gas station. Officers arrived at the gas station, and one officer discharged their firearm at the fleeing vehicle at 7:58 a.m.,” according to ASIRT. 

Officers pursued the vehicle as it left Smoky Lake. After briefly losing sight of the suspect vehicle, it was located in dense trees near Range Road 172. 

“RCMP emergency response team and police dog service officers began to track the occupants from this location.” 

At 10:11 a.m., officers saw the male in a field.  

“An interaction occurred between the officers and the male occupant, and officers discharged their firearms. Officers approached and located both occupants, who were wounded. A firearm was located near the man,” according to ASIRT. Emergency medical services were provided at the scene.  

The male was sent to an Edmonton-area hospital by air ambulance. The female was declared deceased by EMS, according to the information from ASIRT. 

“The Alberta RCMP believes in processes that seek the facts and it’s important that processes taken to assess the actions of all those involved, including the police, are fair, transparent, and defendable. This is why, as soon as we became aware of this incident, we immediately notified the Director of Law Enforcement and initiated our internal review process,” the RCMP news release states.  

“Independent of ASIRT’s investigation, the Alberta RCMP’s internal review process has been implemented to gather a full account of what took place during this incident. RCMP training, policy, police response, and the duty status of the members involved will be subject to review. The Alberta RCMP is, of course, fully cooperating with ASIRT and will not be commenting further on this incident.”  

As part of its ongoing investigation, ASIRT is continuing to identify people who may have witnessed aspects of the confrontation between the man and police. ASIRT is asking anyone who may have been in the area and may have witnessed the events or may have video, to contact investigators at 780-644-1483. 

“ASIRT’s mandate is to effectively, independently and objectively investigate incidents involving Alberta’s police that have resulted in serious injury or death to any person, as well as serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct.” 

Alberta RCMP continue to investigate matters leading up to and including the events on Aug. 8, excluding the uses of force by officers involved. Any assistance from the public throughout the investigation is appreciated, and anyone with information is asked to contact Eastern Alberta District RCMP at 780-645-8870.