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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 7/24/2002 12:46:06 PM EST
Shoot to Kill; Police Snipers Say Sex Assault Suspect Lucky to be Alive July 5, 2002 Andrea Wiebe Staff Writer Edmonton Sun Edmonton, Alberta, Canada - A sexual assault suspect - and possibly the first person ever shot by an Edmonton tactical team sniper - won't make his court appearance today because of his injuries, say police. But the man is lucky to be alive at all, says the city's police sniper co-ordinator. Edmonton's tactical team snipers shoot to kill. "If we feel someone's life's in danger, then we want to save the other person, so we'll try to take a shot in the head," said acting Staff Sergeant Terry Rocchio. "We don't use lethal force to shoot guns out of people's hands - that's a TV kind of thing. When we do this, that means it's a life-or-death situation for somebody involved." A tactical team sniper pulled the trigger June 15 to end a standoff that lasted six hours when a man allegedly holding a woman hostage came out of a townhouse and pointed a gun at her head. Police allege the man - who was out on bail for a sex assault charge - had sexually assaulted three women that day, in three separate incidents, in the townhouse near 168 Avenue and 109 Street. The suspect remains in hospital with serious injuries to his jaw, said Sergeant Chris Hayden. "He's expected to be in the hospital for at least another couple of weeks," Hayden said. The man is the first person to be targeted and shot by an Edmonton sniper in at least the eight-and-a-half years that Rocchio's been on the tactical team. "I think this might be the only time (ever)," Rocchio said. "Everything we do, all our tactics, are geared to get the person to come out. We don't want to hurt anybody. That's our last, last resort." A sniper's job, for the most part, is "observing, passing information back, and protecting our team," he said. And the team considers the June 15 takedown a success."The girl escaped without being harmed so, yeah, definitely," said Rocchio. Snipers selected for Edmonton's tactical team undergo a gruelling three-week reserve course taught by experts. Only two of about six hopeful applicants are chosen, and those two must then pass another week-long sniper course. Snipers also take an additional training day once a month, and a three-day training session every spring and fall. "It's target shooting, moving targets from distance, pop-up targets, we do observation skills all the time, we do some stalking exercises where we can move into locations without being detected, so it's a whole wide variety of things." The suspect's lawyer is expected to appear in court today to speak to the man's 13 charges, which include sexual assault with a weapon, aggravated sexual assault, hostage-taking, forcible confinement and choking to overcome resistance. The suspect's name can't be released to protect the identity of one of the alleged victims.
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