Police say no warning of violence before teen shot and killed 2 Edmonton officers
Superintendent Shane Perka, left, and Police Deputy Chief Devin Laforce speak about the details of the shooting that killed two police officers two police officers during a press conference in Edmonton, Friday, March 17, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Ritika Dubey and Bob Weber, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, March 17, 2023 4:07PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, March 17, 2023 9:11PM EDT
EDMONTON - Two officers who were shot and killed by a teenager had no indication they were walking into a high-risk or dangerous situation, police say.
“The call itself was a non-violent domestic dispute where a mother was having trouble with her 16-year-old son,” Deputy Chief Devin Laforce said Friday. “There was nothing to really indicate this was a dangerous or high-threat violent response for our members.”
Police said the two officers, Const. Brett Ryan and Const. Travis Jordan, were responding to a call early Thursday from the 55-year-old mother, who lived in the northwest Edmonton apartment with her son and his 73-year-old father. The officers were met outside the building by the mother, who escorted them to her suite.
They didn't get past the door before they were shot multiple times, said Laforce.
“They had no opportunity to respond to the threat that faced them. It is consistent with an ambush.”
The teen then turned the gun on himself and died at the scene. Because he died in the presence of police officers, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team will oversee the homicide investigation, said Laforce.
Laforce said the mother was shot as she struggled with her son over the gun. She is in hospital and remains unresponsive, he said.
The father, who was in another room during the shooting, was uninjured.
Laforce said the boy had no prior criminal record or outstanding warrants. Police had visited the apartment before.
“One of the incidents was categorized as a mental health complaint.”
Both officers were wearing their body armour.
Police released few other details about the crime, which has led to a widespread outpouring of grief and support across the country.
They couldn't say what type of gun was used, if it had been legally registered or how many shots were fired. Laforce said the shooting is not considered to have been ideologically motivated.
He said police are investigating if there is a link between the shooting and another one Sunday at a nearby pizza restaurant. An employee was shot and taken to hospital with serious life-threatening injuries. Police were still looking for a suspect in that shooting.
Laforce said investigators are aware of the proximity of the two shootings and but had no other details.
There have been various tributes to the two officers.
Condolence books were set up Friday at Edmonton City Hall for people to pay their respects.
City landmarks, including city hall, the High Level Bridge, Muttart Conservatory, Commonwealth Stadium and Walterdale Bridge, were lit Thursday night in blue to honour the two officers.
Flags at the Alberta legislature, government buildings and police detachments were lowered to half-mast.
Online fundraisers have been organized for the families of the officers by the Edmonton Police Association and the Alberta Paramedic Association.
The Donut Man, a bakery in Crossfield, Alta., has also been selling memorial doughnuts featuring a blue ribbon, black and blue sprinkles and the letters R and J, with proceeds going to the officers' families.
Charlotte Blackwell, who owns the bakery with her husband, said they have sold about 200 doughnuts so far, including orders from people in emergency services and those planning to send the treats to police divisions.
“Everybody's been very supportive. Obviously a lot of people have been very sombre,” she said. “People just want to show support for the families.”
Blackwell said she's a cousin of Ryan's mother and remembers playing with him at family functions when he was a young boy.
“From what I know of him and what I remember of him, he was a wonderful person,” she said. “The whole family is heartbroken over this. My heart breaks for my cousin and the rest of the family.”
Ryan, 30, a former paramedic, lived just west of Edmonton in Spruce Grove. A friend said Ryan was married and his wife is expecting their first child.
Jordan, 35, who grew up in Nova Scotia, was remembered as a kind officer who went above and beyond in his job.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 17, 2023.
- With files from Emily Blake in Yellowknife