|RCMP and Alberta Sheriffs run a vehicle check stop on Hwy #21 south of Baseline Rd., in Sherwood Park on Thursday May 17, 2012. (TOM BRAID/QMI Agency)
EDMONTON - The province’s police watchdog is investigating after a 43-year-old man was shot dead by Mounties Wednesday evening.
Three officers from the RCMP detachment in Vegreville, about 100 km east of Edmonton, were called to a rural location outside the town around 5 p.m. to investigate a complaint about an armed man.
During the course of the investigation, the RCMP Emergency Response Team (ERT) was called to the scene, but by the time they arrived, an officer had already fired one shot at the man.
Despite efforts by emergency medical services, the man died at the scene. A shotgun was recovered at the location.
The man’s name is not being released at this time, but relatives and those who live in the area have identified him as Russell Skoropad.
A resident in the area, who did not want his name published, said the man was the youngest of three brothers who lived on the property with their mother.
The resident described the mother as a very nice person, but said the brothers had problems getting along.
“It’s definitely sad it had to come to this,” said the resident, noting the man lived in a motorhome on the property.
Robert Jorsensen, chief administrative officer at the County of Two Hills, said he was “shocked” by the news.
“We are a quiet community. We don’t have shootings. Everybody gets along very well,” Jorsensen said.
It’s the second time RCMP in Vegreville have fatally shot a man.
In July 2008, officers fired on and killed an armed Leo Raymond Poulin in a parking lot. Mounties had been pursuing the 59-year-old down the highway, which runs through the town, when he drove his Jeep into a parking lot between the town’s chamber of commerce and a hardware store.
Officers pulled into the lot, and an agitated and depressed Poulin emerged with a shotgun. He ignored repeated demands to drop the weapon before an officer fired three shots. No criminal charges were laid against the officer who fired those fatal shots.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) has opened an investigation, as it does in any incident involving serious injury or death that might have resulted from police actions.