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2 Edmonton police officers were ambushed, shot multiple times by suspect, investigators say

Edmonton police say the two officers killed early Thursday were shot multiple times as soon as they arrived at the apartment suite where a woman had called for help with her 16-year-old son.

Edmonton Police Service Deputy Chief Devin Laforce said Friday that there was no indication of violence when police responded to the call, and they didn’t know there was a gun in the home.

Const. Travis Jordan, 35, and Const. Brett Ryan, 30, were both declared dead in hospital after being shot and killed in what Laforce called an “ambush” by the teen suspect.

“It has since been confirmed that neither officer discharged their firearm, and it is apparent that they had no opportunity to respond to the threat that faced them,” Laforce said at a news conference. 

Jordan and Ryan were called to what police termed a family dispute at an apartment complex in the city’s northwest. A 55-year-old woman, the teen’s mother, met the officers outside. According to police, the boy’s 73-year-old father was also in the home in a different room.

Police said gunfire erupted before Jordan and Ryan entered the apartment suite, incapacitating them. The teen and his mother then reportedly struggled over the gun, and according to police, the boy shot his mother, then himself. The teen died, but Laforce said the mother remains in hospital in serious but stable condition.

He said details about the gun can’t be publicly shared for investigative reasons.

The suspect had no prior criminal record, but police had been called to the home before, including for a previous mental-health complaint. 

The father is co-operating with the police investigation. 

Because the 16-year-old suspect died in the presence of police, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) will oversee the EPS homicide investigation.

Laforce said police are looking at whether there is any connection between the killings and another shooting on Sunday at a Pizza Hut near the apartment complex, but as of Friday police haven’t officially confirmed any link.

‘There was no hesitation’

A man who lives in the apartment complex where Ryan and Jordan were killed early Thursday says shots rang out seconds after the constables entered the building. 

Phillip Dunn lives in the same building where the shootings occurred.

He told CBC News on Friday he let the officers into the building and moments later heard the shooting.

He heard a rapid-fire series of gunshots, he said. The officers had no time to react, he added.

“There was no hesitation,” Dunn said.

Jordan and Ryan — patrol officers with West Division — were called around 12:47 a.m. to the Baywood Park Apartments complex near 114th Avenue and 132nd Street.

After the officers were shot, colleagues rushed one of them to hospital, working to keep him alive, while the other was taken in an ambulance. They were declared dead at hospital.

Dunn, who lives on the third floor of the building, said he was in his kitchen before the shooting.

He saw the flash of a light pass across his window. Two officers were standing outside with the woman who lives in the unit directly below his, Dunn said.

“There was a police officer outside,” he said. “When I looked, he made eye contact with me and he kind of pointed to the door.” 

A man with long dark hair stands in front of an apartment building.
Phillip Dunn says he heard two Edmonton police officers being gunned down on Thursday. (Sam Martin/CBC)

Dunn said he went downstairs and opened the door to the officers and the woman he knew to be his neighbour. He said the officers thanked him and told him to return to his apartment. 

“I went up the stairs. They turned off onto the second floor behind me, and before I even got back into my unit, I heard the shooting.”

Dunn said he heard five or six shots ring out as officers approached the door. 

“They came to the door and you could hear them say, ‘Hello, this is the police. Please let us in.’

“I don’t think he even finished what he was saying.”

Dunn said he didn’t know the woman or her son very well but would often pass them in the halls. He said they had lived there for at least 2½ years.

He said residents of the building, which is part of a large brick complex of three-storey walk-ups, have been told to stay in their units as the police investigation continues at the scene.

As of Friday morning, police cars and a forensics truck remained parked near the apartment complex. The scene was taped off and a road leading into the area was also blocked.

Autopsies for Ryan and Jordan have been scheduled for the weekend, and the 16-year-old boy’s autopsy is set for Wednesday.

“It’s been an incredibly difficult and tragic 38 hours,” Laforce said, adding the deaths have had “deep and far-reaching effects” on Edmontonians.

“The weight of constables Travis Jordan and Brett Ryan’s deaths still hasn’t completely sunk in, nor will it ever truly sink in.”

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