NEWS
08/12/2011 03:45 EDT | Updated 10/12/2011 05:12 EDT

Calgary Screwdriver Attack Results Police Shooting Man Four Times

Flickr: mediavrog

CALGARY - Investigators say a man armed with a screwdriver who came at a Calgary police officer was shot four times and died in hospital.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, which reviews all shootings involving police, is in the early stages of its investigation. The man was shot early Thursday morning after police tried to stop two stolen trucks.

Calgary police have already said the veteran officer, a member of the tactical team, chased a man into the backyard of a home. They say he was yelling threats and had a screwdriver in his hand when he approached the officer. That's when the officer fired his weapon.

"The tactical member discharged his service pistol which struck the male four times," ASIRT assistant director Roy Fitzpatrick told reporters Friday.

"The male was provided emergency medical attention by EMS and then he was transported to the hospital. Unfortunately he succumbed to his injuries."

Fitzpatrick said a screwdriver was recovered from the backyard and investigators are looking for any witnesses who saw or heard anything.

"Those are the people we want to talk to. We want to ensure, at the end of our investigation, the truth has been uncovered," said Fitzpatrick.

"We can get to that by talking to everybody who may have even ... a snippet of information that could provide us the dots that put this whole investigation together."

The dead man has been identified as Jonathan Rawlings.

The 36-year-old had at least one previous run-in with the law. He had been arrested on a Canada-wide warrant for 10 drug and weapons charges last September.

A 2008 Winnipeg inquest into a similar shooting heard that police officers across the country are taught to use a weapon that is more powerful than the one held by a suspect in order to gain quick control of the situation.

The hearing was examining the 2005 death of Matthew Dumas, an 18-year-old who witnesses said was shot dead when he lunged at police with a screwdriver.

"A screwdriver is an edge weapon," testified Cpl. Greg Gillis, an RCMP expert on the use of force. "It is appropriate for (an officer) to manage that threat with his service pistol.

"We tell people that armed persons should not get within 25 feet."

Fitzpatrick said the investigation will look at the entire police operation, including the shooting, the stopping of the two stolen trucks and the arrest and injury of another man who was subdued with the use of a police dog and a rubber round from an anti-riot weapon.

Calgary's police chief came out in support of his officer on Thursday, saying he reviewed the shooting and is satisfied the officer acted appropriately.

Fitzpatrick said he would like to see ASIRT's probe wrapped up sooner than later.

"For each investigation it depends on how many pieces of the puzzle we need to put together. We want to make sure this is thorough and we have not left anything not looked at," he said.

"A lot of things are outside our control."

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said the Dumas inquest was held this year.