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Calgary Cop Won’t Be Charged for Fatally Shooting Man Despite Watchdog’s Recommendation

The cop, who hasn't even been named, was also involved in a second fatal shooting and is now on administrative duties.
August 23, 2016, 1:53pm

Photo via Flickr user FaceMePLS

A Calgary police officer who shot and killed a man will not be charged even though a police watchdog report recommended he face charges for the incident.

The Calgary Police Service (CPS) officer, who has not yet been identified, shot 27-year-old Anthony Heffernan four times—two in the head, one in the torso and one in the chest—at a hotel last March after staff found him in an agitated state in his room, and decided to call the police.The report, compiled by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, which is responsible for investigating incidents where police kill or seriously injure someone, or have faced serious charges of misconduct, found that, "there was available evidence capable of constituting reasonable grounds to believe that an offence(s) under the Criminal Code had been committed." The Crown, however, decided that there was "no reasonable likelihood of conviction," and decided to recommend that the officer not face any charges. The assistant deputy minister of the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service, Eric Tolppanen, said, "we couldn't disprove that the use of force was reasonable." On March 16, 2015, five officers responded to a call at the Super 8 motel on Barlow Trail after Heffernan failed to check out of his room, and staff said he was unresponsive to requests to do so. The officers attempted to communicate with Heffernan from outside the door, and then burst in and found Heffernan holding a lighter and an insulin syringe, toying with both. Officers tased Heffernan twice, both allegedly failing to immobilize him. The ASIRT report says that then, "depending on the description provided by the witness officers, still holding the lighter and syringe, Mr. Heffernan either moved forward towards the officers or lunged in their direction." At this point the officer let off six shots, four of which hit Heffernan, with another striking a window in the room. This all occurred within three minutes. Immediately after the results of the report were announced, Heffernan's brother, Grant, told a press conference, "We are extremely disappointed." READ MORE: Why Do Toronto Police Go So Easy on Drunk Driving Cops? Heffernan's family, who have been outspoken about the injustice they feel he suffered, noted he was recovering from a drug addiction but "was a danger to nobody but himself" on the day he was killed. The family is planning to launch a civil suit against the CPS in an attempt to acquire more information regarding the incident. Police didn't notify Heffernan's family that he was killed until the story hit the press, 11 hours after it occurred. The officer who shot and killed Heffernan was reinstated to the force after 30 days of mandatory leave. He was involved in another fatal shooting in January 2016, and is now on administrative duties. Follow Davide Mastracci on Twitter.