Neighbours 'surprised' after welfare check turns into fatal shooting of woman by Edmonton police

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Neighbours of the woman who was fatally shot by a police officer during a welfare check in the city’s southeast were surprised to learn their neighbour had been killed, with some saying they didn’t even hear gunshots.

In an interview with Postmedia, a neighbour who lives just across the hall from the woman’s suite said he was sleeping when the incident happened and didn’t know that the woman — who is yet to be identified — had been killed. He described her as in her 40s, saying he believes she lived by herself.

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Another neighbour on the same floor said they live in a quiet community where everybody keeps to themselves. She didn’t know what happened until she read the release from the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), Alberta’s police watchdog.”I just saw police and I decided to stay inside until they left,” added another neighbour.

Edmonton police said in a news release on Thursday they were called for a welfare check at around 10:37 a.m. on Wednesday at an apartment in the area of 18 Avenue and 32 Street.

When officers arrived on scene, they made call-outs at the door, but nobody answered. They determined — according to the information they gathered — an imminent risk of self-harm to the woman and entered the suite to ensure her health and safety.

According to the news release, after having a confrontation with the woman, police deployed a conducted energy weapon and discharged a firearm — striking her. Despite life-saving measures by first responders, she died at the scene.

No police members were injured.

Alberta’s police watchdog started the investigation on Wednesday. ASIRT released a photo of a pellet gun that Edmonton police say was located at the scene on Friday. ASIRT executive director Michael Ewenson declined to say where the pellet gun was located or whether the woman was holding it.

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A pellet pistol seized by Edmonton police officers at an apartment in the area of 18 Avenue and 32 Street. The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) is investigating the second death by Edmonton police in days. Photo by Supplied Photo /ASIRT

Some have criticized ASIRT’s practice of releasing photos of weapons found in the possession of people killed or injured by police, claiming it implies police actions were justified before a full investigation is completed.

“We aim to be as transparent as possible with the public,” Ewenson countered. “Certainly if a weapon was found at a scene we would always include that in our final report. In situations where we can verify it at an early stage we advise the public about that fact.

“I don’t see it as tipping the scales as we are still obligated in our final reports to explain both the facts and legal analysis.”

Wednesday’s incident is the second fatal police-involved shooting that happened this week. MLA Brooks Arcand-Paul identified the other person killed as his cousin Katlin Arcand. Arcand was shot Sunday after being tasered in what ASIRT described as an “altercation” with police. ASIRT said EPS officers were initially called about a man brandishing a knife.

Arcand-Paul said family will likely hold a press conference after his cousin’s funeral next week. According to the Indigenous Arts Collective of Canada, Arcand was a multi-medium artist who worked primarily as a stone carver. He was from Alexander First Nation and in a profile describing his art said he suffered from mental illness.

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