Police say a 34-year-old man shot what’s believed to have been an improvised firearm at officers during a tense scene Wednesday afternoon in the middle of downtown Saskatoon.
Acting Chief Mark Chatterbok spoke with media Thursday morning. He stressed that the investigation into Wednesday’s incident is ongoing before giving an account of what police believe happened based on available information.
The chain of events started around 3 p.m. Wednesday with police called to a parking lot on the 200 block of 4th Avenue South, where a man had reportedly broken a window to get into a vehicle.
“Upon arrival, (the responding officers) located the man, who appeared to be in possession of a long metal pipe,” Chatterbok said.
Chatterbok said the man continued behaving suspiciously even as police approached him. An officer then fired a taser at him when he wouldn’t comply with their commands.
The taser failed to subdue the man, leading police to fire beanbag rounds at him. Chatterbok said those also failed to bring the man down.
Chatterbok said the suspect then fired a shot at police, causing officers to realize what they thought was a pipe in the man’s hands was some sort of gun.
Police reportedly kept firing beanbag rounds at the man as he fled from 4th Avenue to 20th Street. At that point, police fired live rounds, hitting the man and then arresting him with the help of a police dog.
Chatterbok said the suspect was taken to hospital for a gunshot wound, believed to have been to the area around his shoulder, as well as injuries consistent with dog bites.
Chatterbok said a firearm with a round in the chamber was recovered at the scene after the man’s arrest
Asked what kind of weapon the man allegedly fired, Chatterbok said it was unclear but that it seemed it could have been home-made.
Chatterbok said support was being made available to the officers involved and that the Ministry of Justice had been brought in to oversee investigation into the incident.
A police release issued following Chatterbok’s remarks confirmed that no one else was seriously hurt.
The suspect was reportedly still in hospital Thursday morning being treated for his injuries. Police said they hadn’t yet had a chance to interview him, but anticipated laying charges of careless use of a firearm and possessing a weapon dangerous to the public.
Further charges are expected after police finish their investigation.
Police said they have already obtained several pieces of video of the incident, but asked anyone who witnessed the incident to contact them.
Office building hit by stray bullet
Wednesday’s shooting was too close for comfort for staff at Collins Barrow.
The accounting firm’s office building at the corner of Spadina Crescent and 20th Street East was hit by a bullet that pierced a second-floor window. Shards of glass were still on the floor and a desk Thursday morning.
“It’s definitely a little bit frightening and everyone’s a bit shaken up,” manager James Wankel said.
A staff member told 650 CKOM they weren’t aware of the shooting incident until they heard glass breaking in the office across the hallway.
Luckily, the office was empty and nobody was hit.
Police said Thursday they collected evidence “consistent with a bullet” from the office.
“Whose it was, we don’t know yet. As the dust settles, that will be something investigators are working to determine,” a spokesperson with police wrote in an email.
Ballistic tests will be conducted. The timeline for when those will be complete is not known.
It’s not the first time the accounting firm has dealt with a serious incident. Back in February there was a fire at the building.