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ALBERTA RCMP justified in shoot-out that killed murderer on the run

Eleven RCMP officers were justified in unleashing a fusillade of 202 shots to bring down a Calgary man wanted for the murder of his girlfriend.

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Eleven RCMP officers were justified in unleashing a fusillade of 202 shots to bring down a Calgary man wanted for the murder of his girlfriend.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team said the incident near Evansburg was particularly “harrowing.”

On March 25, 2018, Calgary woman Nadia El-Dib was stabbed 40 times, had her throat slit and was shot by Abderrahmane ‘Adam’ Bettahar in Marlborough Park.

Nadia El-Dib

On the morning of March 29, CPS advised RCMP officers that evidence placed the fugitive in the Evansburg area. He was believed to be armed with a CSA VZ.58 semi-automatic rifle and driving a dark blue 2004 Ford Explorer sport utility vehicle. 

“The man had made statements to the effect that he would not go down without a fight. This information was shared with RCMP officers in the detachments west of Edmonton along the Highway 16 corridor,” said ASIRT in a Thursday release.

At 5:13, an uniformed RCMP officer spotted the vehicle and started to follow.

Efforts to conduct a traffic stop of the vehicle were not successful and at 5:17 p.m., a police pursuit ensued.

The pursuit continued for approximately 70 minutes and covered approximately 140 kilometres, traveling north on Highway 22 onto Highway 16, the release said.

The pursuit travelled east and west on Highway 16 as the man changed direction on the highway several times. As the pursuit continued, additional officers and police vehicles joined in. RCMP coordinated the response so that additional officers were positioned at intersections ahead of the pursuit to prevent civilians from accessing the highway and entering into the potentially dangerous ongoing event, and to prevent the man from escaping onto rural roads.

The man successfully evaded four separate attempts to deploy spike belts during the pursuit. A fifth spike belt, placed on Highway 16 eastbound at Range Road 112, succeeded in damaging the vehicle’s tires but the man was able to drive further until his vehicle became inoperable and stopped just east of Range Road 83, in the eastbound lanes of Highway 16.

ASIRT said as the vehicle slowed down, the man made a sharp 45-degree turn, coming to a stop angled across a portion of the outside eastbound lane of the highway, exposing the passenger side of the vehicle to the pursuing police vehicles. The placement of the vehicle provided a tactically advantageous position, providing cover and protection while the man fired upon police.

“Civilian witnesses travelling in the westbound lanes of Highway 16 reported seeing the man exit his vehicle with what was described as a rifle or ‘machine gun,’ and immediately drop to one knee to take a firing stance, pointing at police ‘like he knew what he was doing.’

Bettahar’s CSA VZ.58 semi-automatic rifle
Courtesy ASIRT

“The man immediately fired a shot at the closest RCMP vehicle, while the officer was exiting his marked police vehicle. The man again fired upon that officer, causing a head injury. It was immediately apparent to some of the nearby RCMP officers that this officer had been shot, and that he appeared to have some sort of head injury that was bleeding profusely, though his initial status was unknown.

“As soon as the man began firing on the officers, officers took positions of cover and eleven of the officers returned fire, firing multiple rounds from assorted duty firearms.

“It was difficult for the officers to assess whether they had disabled the man, as he was behind the vehicle and hard to see. What followed was an exchange of gunfire between RCMP officers and the man that lasted for about two minutes.

“During the firefight, independent witnesses saw that the man appeared to be reloading his firearm as he sheltered behind his disabled vehicle. He fired additional rounds at the RCMP officers/vehicles from a position of cover behind the driver’s side of the Ford Explorer.

“One minute and twelve seconds after the start of the gunfire, one of the officers near the front waved his arm, directing officers to ‘cease fire.’ One last shot was fired, when an officer perceived movement.

During the firefight, the injured officer crawled towards the back of his police vehicle, hampered by the head injury and blood obscuring his vision. He was pulled to safety through the concerted efforts of multiple officers to provide cover and physical assistance, ASIRT said.

At 6:28 p.m., an officer travelling in the westbound lanes came upon the scene and confirmed that the man appeared to be down. Based on the available evidence, the man had fired 10 rounds, while a total of 202 police rounds are believed to have been fired between the eleven subject officers, said the release.

ASIRT said the injured officer suffered what would turn out, “miraculously”, to be only a grazing wound across the top of his head, leaving his skull intact, with shrapnel in his scalp and a concussion. A second officer on scene suffered several lacerations or abrasions on his arm and the back of the neck, believed to be from shrapnel from nearby bullet strikes.

The blue Ford Explorer suffered extensive damage: every window was shot out and the body of the vehicle had taken numerous bullet strikes. Three police vehicles also sustained damage from bullet strikes.

An autopsy determined that the man died of multiple gunshot wounds. One of the most serious gunshot wounds severed the cervical spinal cord, and lacerated both the left common carotid artery and left internal jugular. A toxicology report determined that the man had neither drugs nor alcohol in his system at the time of his death.

“The man had no prior criminal record. The CSA VZ.58 semi-automatic rifle, which was the weapon believed to have been used in the murder of Ms. El-Dib, was recovered on scene and found to have an empty magazine but one remaining live round in the chamber. The gun and its ammunition had the capacity to penetrate police soft body armour. A receipt recovered from the man’s wallet demonstrated that his gun had been purchased on May 10, 2018, along with a membership to a Calgary gun club.

“It would be fair to describe this event as harrowing. It is a shocking example of the risks police can face at any time. While the man was extremely young and had no criminal record, factors that might suggest an easier or less risky apprehension, the calculated positioning of his vehicle permitted him to fire on police from a position of cover which prolonged the incident. His choice to open fire on officers was deliberate and immediate, and there can be no question that he presented a lethal risk. He was shooting to kill, not just to provoke a police response.”

“In the circumstances, viewing the incident as a whole, the eleven officers’ resort to the use of lethal force, made only upon the man’s firing first upon police, was reasonable and justified.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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Alberta union leader says ‘sorry’ for comparing UCP to Nazis

“I, Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, apologize unreservedly for invoking the name of Adolf Hitler and the monstrous Nazi government of Germany.”

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The head of an NDP-affiliated union in Alberta has apologized for comparing the UCP government to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party.

“Hitler’s propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels, famously said “always accuse your enemies of what you are doing yourself.” That’s exactly what’s going on with Jason Kenney’s union-busting Bill 32. It’s the UCP & its corporate friends who are gaming the system,” Alberta Federation of Labour head Gil McGowan tweeted Monday.

“And, yes, I’m accusing the UCP of adopting tactics pioneered by the Nazis and being implemented right-wing authoritarians today. Hungary, Turkey, Brazil, India, Trump’s America. These are all countries led by authoritarians who Kenney calls friends. This is what we’re up against.”

The tweets drew cross-country condemnation, especially from Jewish groups.

McGowan initially stood by the tweet, but then Wednesday finally apologized.

“I, Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, apologize unreservedly for invoking the name of Adolf Hitler and the monstrous Nazi government of Germany, in my criticism of political tactics adopted by the UCP government of Alberta,” he said in a statement Wednesday.

“While I continue to believe that the world is experiencing an alarming rise in right-wing authoritarianism which threatens the rights and well-being of millions, including historically persecuted people, like the Jewish population of the world; and while I also continue to believe that the UCP is exhibiting a troubling willingness to implement tactics, strategies and policies inspired by these new populist strongmen, I was wrong to use the Nazi regime as a point of reference.

“After engaging in conversation with a representative of the Calgary Jewish Federation and the Jewish Federation of Edmonton, it became clear to me that my use of a quote widely attributed to Hitler’s propaganda chief could trigger traumatic memories for survivors of the Holocaust and their descendants.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Alberta crude reaches NB refinery after 12,000 km journey

Cenovus announced Canada Day is first shipment had been loaded onto tanker Cabo de Hornos in the Trans Mountain loading area in Burnaby, and was on its way to the Irving refinery.

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Alberta’s first shipment of crude has reached the refinery in New Brunswick, after a circuitous journey of nearly 12,000 km.

Cenovus announced Canada Day is first shipment had been loaded onto tanker Cabo de Hornos in the Trans Mountain loading area in Burnaby, and was on its way to the Irving refinery.

But instead of flowing along an Energy East pipeline which was kiboshed, the oil was sailed down the Western seaboard, through the Panama Canal, and up the Eastern Seaboard to New Brunswick, a distance of 11,900 km.

“We were pleased with the economics of this transaction and excited to work with another strong Canadian company like Irving Oil,” said Keith Chiasson, Cenovus Energy Executive Vice-President, Downstream, in a statement when the ship left Burnaby.

“This is a one-off shipment for now, but we think there’s tremendous potential for more oil from Western Canada to make its way east, expanding our customer base here at home. It’s truly a Canadian success story.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Alberta’s gambling profit should be used to create new welfare payment, says think tank

“Those at the margins of society are paying disproportionately into the coffers,” the report concludes.

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Alberta’s more than $1.4 billion in gambling profits should be used to give the province’s poor a monthly payment, similar to welfare, says a national think tank.

Think tank Cardus, in a report released Wednesday, said the lowest-income households in Alberta pay the provincial government an estimated 7% of their annual incomes through gambling – triple the proportion that the wealthiest Albertans pay.

“Those at the margins of society are paying disproportionately into the coffers,”  the report concludes.

The report, called Royally Flushed, outlined ways to turn Alberta Gaming and Lottery Corporation (AGLC) revenue toward reducing poverty instead of mixing it in with the province’s general tax revenue.

It recommends creating a gaming equality benefit, which “would re-direct AGLC’s $1.4 billion annual contribution away from general government revenues toward low-income families through monthly support payments similar to the province’s social assistance system.”

It also says AGLC profits be used to incentivize savings – “one of the best ways to ensure families don’t turn to usurious payday loans. This can boost the savings accounts of low-income families, following a model similar to government top-ups of RESPs contributions or through prize-linked savings accounts.”

“I hope Alberta’s government takes this research seriously and seizes the opportunity to turn bad habits into good,” says Johanna Wolfert, a Cardus researcher and report co-author.

The report also found: 

  • AGLC generated more than three quarters of its 2019 profit from slot machines and video lottery terminals, which are designed to override players’ conscious, rational control.
  • Albertans are likely spend almost six times more on gambling than they report.
  • AGLC revenue is treated exactly the same way as general tax revenue; it is not designated specifically for community improvements.

“Alberta made a mistake in 2019 when it started shovelling AGLC’s casino, lottery, and slot machine proceeds into general government revenues,” says Brian Dijkema, Cardus Vice-President of External Affairs and co-author of Royally Flushed.

“That simply solidified the status of Alberta’s gambling system as a regressive form of taxation, disproportionately taking money from those who can least afford it.”

Royally Flushed: How gambling can work for, not against, Alberta is available online.

Cardus is a “non-partisan, faith-based think tank and registered charity dedicated to promoting a flourishing society through independent research, robust public dialogue, and thought-provoking commentary.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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