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Alberta

Edmonton police arrest suspect in deadly random attacks that killed one, injured two

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EDMONTON — A 25-year-old man was taken into custody Wednesday after Edmonton police said one person was killed and two were injured in what they called random attacks.

Police identified the suspect as Clarence Lawrence.

Earlier in the afternoon, police warned residents, pedestrians and motorists to avoid the northeast neighbourhood of Homesteader, near Hermitage Road and Henry Avenue, while officers searched for a man with an “edged weapon.”

Residents were also advised to shelter in place. Four Catholic schools, four public schools and at least one daycare in the area were on alert as a precaution, meaning the exterior doors were locked.

“Two people have been seriously injured and one person is deceased,” police said in a news release Wednesday. “The assaults are believed to be random in nature.”

While police were searching for the suspect, they said witnesses described his appearance as “dishevelled and untidy.” They released CCTV images of the suspect to the public that showed him in beige khaki pants, white shoes and a dark hoodie. He was also described as having curly black hair and light skin.

Lawrence was taken into custody just before 6 p.m. Wednesday, police said, about two and a half hours after authorities warned the public about the attacks. He was found in an area almost two kilometres southwest of the crime scene.

Authorities have not provided details on whether Lawrence is facing any charges or if charges are pending.

Elmir Majstorovic said he went to pick up his seven-year-old nephew from school Wednesday afternoon when he saw several police cruisers down the street.

The 22-year-old said St. Maria Goretti Catholic Elementary School was on alert and not letting students out. He said he waited about two hours before he could see his nephew.

Majstorovic said he didn’t witness the attacks, but called it unnerving that it happened so close to home.

He added that it was especially concerning since there are usually many children in the area.

Dave Olechow said he was driving in the area when he saw a man running down the street, yelling at a man and woman walking with a small dog.

He said he continued driving and did not see anyone get stabbed.

At the crime scene later in the day, Olechow said he spoke to police about what he saw.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 7, 2022.

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Alberta

Mountie shoots armed man on First Nation, suspect in life-threatening condition

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MASKWACIS, ALBERTA, CANADA — Alberta’s police watchdog has been called in to investigate after a Mountie shot an armed suspect on the Samson Cree First Nation.

RCMP say in a release that the wounded man was flown to hospital in critical life-threatening condition.

Police say they responded to a report of a man firing a gun on the reserve south of Edmonton on Thursday afternoon.

RCMP say there was a confrontation and an officer fired their pistol and injured a 27-year-old suspect.

No Mounties were hurt.

Police say the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team has taken over the investigation of the shooting and the RCMP will conduct its own internal review.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2022

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Alberta

‘Cautiously optimistic’: Lawyer for trucker in Broncos crash waiting on Federal Court

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By Bill Graveland in Calgary

A lawyer for a former truck driver who caused the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash says he’s cautiously optimistic that he will get the chance to argue against his client’s possible deportation before Federal Court.

In 2019, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu was sentenced to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm in the Saskatchewan crash that killed 16 people and injured 13 others.

The Canada Border Services Agency recommended in March that Sidhu be handed over to the Immigration and Refugee Board to decide whether he should be deported to India.

Michael Greene, Sidhu’s lawyer, said if the Federal Court decides not to hear the case, the deportation process would continue.

He said all written arguments with the Federal Court were filed in July, adding that no news can be good news when waiting for the court to make its decision.

“I’m cautiously optimistic, but I know enough not to get cocky about something like that,” Greene said. “Usually when it takes time, it means you’ve got an arguable case.”

It is also a high-profile case, so a judge might want to be extra careful, he said.

Court was told that the rookie Calgary trucker, a newly married permanent resident, went through a stop sign at a rural intersection and drove into the path of the Humboldt Broncos bus carrying players and staff to a junior hockey league playoff game.

The Parole Board of Canada granted Sidhu day parole in July for six months. He can get full parole after that if he follows conditions, including not contacting the families of the victims.

“Day parole means he is at home. He’s with his wife and I can’t tell you how happy that makes them,” Greene said. “They’re trying to get back to some sense of normalcy.”

Greene said even if he is granted permission to appeal before the court and is successful, the matter would be sent back to Canada Border Services Agency for another review. He said the original officer put all the weight of his decision on the gravity of the harm caused.

“You can’t get your hopes up too high,” Greene said.

“Sometimes the judge will make comments in their decision that will give some guidance to the (CBSA) officers.”

An online fundraising page set up to raise money to help keep Sidhu in Canada has reached more than $42,000.

A message from Sidhu’s wife, Tanvir Mann, a Canadian citizen, said her husband made a “tragic mistake.”

“When confronted by the unimaginable magnitude of the consequences of his mistake, he did everything he could to make things better,” Mann writes.

“I pray that there are people out there who don’t believe that Jaskirat should be deported and are willing to contribute to my fight to be able to live out our lives in Canada.”

The Canada Border Services Agency has previously declined to comment on Sidhu’s case, but said there are multiple steps built into the process to ensure procedural fairness.

Greene said he understands that several of the victims’ families are still angry.

“It’s completely understandable. It is,” he said. “Everybody deals with grief and loss in their own way.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2022.

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