Editor's note: Updated to include information from ASIRT, interviews with residents and photos.
A crushed door at a gas station and a damaged police car in a ditch signalled the aftermath of two scenes where police fired at break-and-enter suspects in Sturgeon County early Monday morning. One suspect went to hospital with a non-life-threatening injury, while police apprehended three others after chasing them to 25005 Sturgeon Road, just east of St. Albert around Regency Estates..
The incident began just after 4 a.m., when members of the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) came upon a possible break-and-enter in progress at the Petro Canada gas station in Namao, near Range Road 244 and Highway 37. The officers confronted the robbery suspects and the interaction resulted in the officers firing their guns.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), which is investigating the incident, said Tuesday afternoon officers saw a Dodge truck backed up to the gas station and the door to the building was damaged.
As the suspects fled the scene, ASIRT said “contact was made between the truck and the EPS vehicle,” at which point officers fired their service pistols. The officers pursued the suspects until the truck hit a ditch near a residential area, where one suspect fled on foot. The truck then exited the ditch and collided with the police vehicle again, at which point officers fired on the suspects for a second time.
The truck fled once more, eventually hitting a tree. The remaining three occupants were arrested without further incident, and the individual who fled on foot was apprehended separately.
ASIRT said a 37-year old man who had been a passenger in the truck was shot twice in the leg. He was treated and transported to hospital, then released into custody. No one else was injured.
The police had the Regency Estates area blocked off on Monday with at least six officers stationed in the area to complete the investigation. At least one officer spent the morning at the gas station.
The gas station, which opened in mid-December, is across the street from Johnny’s Store and within a block of Sturgeon Composite High School and Namao School. Both schools monitored the situation and enacted a hold and secure protocol, which involves locking exterior doors.
Amy Picton lives across the street from the gas station and said she didn’t see what happened, but did hear her dogs barking early in the morning.
"I was thinking someone was in our yard," Picton said, but it was dark and she didn't see anyone.
About four cop cars showed up at around 5 a.m., which made her curious. She later looked up the details in the media and learned of the incident that took place so close to her home.
"It's kind of scary we didn't hear anything when we have a one-year-old in the house," she said.
She said it was the first time a robbery had happened so close to her home.
Jennifer Sichkaryk lives in Carbondale, not far from where the incident happened, and said theft in the community has been very bad.
“I had my vehicle and other stuff stolen this past August. They broke into our garage and were a foot away from my family. They tried to come back and steal my husband's truck. Our area has had so many bad guys and there’s nothing we can do,” Sichkaryk said.
“Our schools were in hold and secure mode today for safety, which should never happen in this little area.”