The agency that investigates fatal police shootings says no charges will be laid against an officer who fatally shot a drug user at a Calgary hotel last year.
On March 15 , 2015 police were called to a northeast Super 8 Hotel due to concerns about the welfare of a man inside one of the rooms.
When officers tried to open the door they found the security lock fastened but could see 27 year old Anthony Heffernan inside, non-responsive.
Officers were worried about his condition and forced their way into the room.
They were met by Heffernan who had an insulin syringe in one hand and a lighter in the other.
One officer used a taser when Heffernan was unresponsive to their commands.
Then police say Heffernan appeared to lunge at them, and that’s when one of the officers fired 6 shots. Heffernan was hit by 4 of those shots and died at the scene.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team consulted with the Crown Prosecutor’s office and the Crown found there was no reasonable likelihood of conviction of the officer. As well, an expert provided to the Crown said that the use of force could be justified.
Heffernan’s family says their son’s death was a murder and it’s being swept under the rug.
Irene and Pat Heffernan say they are devastated by the ASIRT decision.
The couple and members of their family spoke to reporters and say police officers will testify to protect each other and body-worn cameras were sadly lacking in this case.
They say Calgarians should fear being in contact with police officers in this city.
Pat Heffernan questions the impartiality of the use-of-force expert brought in to look at whether the officers actions were reasonable.
They say a fatality inquiry into their son’s death won’t go far enough and say a civil suit against police is a question for their lawyer to answer.
Police chief Roger Chaffin says there will be an internal investigation and says the situation has given police chance to review how they deal with mental health and addiction challenges.
The officer who shot and killed Heffernan eventually returned to duty and was soon after involved in the fatal shooting of Dave McQueen in his Huntington Hills home in January.
The officer is still working, but at a desk job.