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RCMP calling death of St. Paul priest a homicide, search for links with Mountie shootings
Chandra Lye, CTV Edmonton
Published Saturday, May 10, 2014 10:34AM MDT
Last Updated Friday, May 23, 2014 11:22AM MDT
St. Paul RCMP are calling the death of a Catholic priest in the town a homicide as they continue to investigate the links with a shoot out that occurred around the same time.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) has been investigating after a suspect died and three RCMP officers were injured during the gun fight.
Police have identified the suspect as 55-year-old John Carolos Quadros.
Officials said it began around 6 p.m. Friday in the downtown core of St. Paul after gun shots were heard outside the RCMP detachment.
A black, Dodge pickup was seeing leaving the detachment parking lot.
Officers then received a call about an injured man at a home just a few blocks from the detachment.
The injured man was taken to hospital but pronounced dead. Police have not confirmed the vicitm’s identity but a spokesperson with the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton confirmed a priest in St. Paul, Father Gilbert Dasna, died.
“Bishop Terrio and the faithful of the Diocese of St. Paul pray for the repose of the souls of Father Gilbert and of his alleged assailant,” spokesperson Pierre Lamoureux said.
Lamoureux explained the shooting occurred in the rectory of the priest.
“He was reported to have been shot in the chest.”
However, he added they had no information that would connect the two events.
“We have no information by the same token of any relationship or motive for the shooting of Father Desna by the alleged assailant.”
Investigators have also been trying to determine how Dasna’s death ties into the other incident but they have said there was no evidence to suggest the priest's death was a random occurrence.
“It is going to be a while before we can determine if there is any link between the two incidences,” Chief Superintendent Randy McGinnis explained.
McGinnis said that officers quickly located the pickup speeding in the downtown area that night.
When RCMP members arrived the driver shot and struck a male officer that was in one of the police vehicles. The suspect then rammed his vehicle into another police car, trapping a female officer inside.
The suspect then opened fire on the Mounties, McGinnis said.
“Our members returned fire. As a result of this gun fight the driver of the black Dodge pickup was deceased at the scene.”
The female officer was extracted from the police vehicle and airlifted to an Edmonton hospital where she remains with serious but non-life threatening injuries to her legs.
Another Mountie suffered a gunshot wound to his hand and a third has been treated after he was hit in the face by glass.
Officials said they will not be releasing the names of the injured officers.
Autopsies for the deceased have been scheduled for Tuesday, May 13.
McGinnis confessed he was shaken by the situation and said several experts were on hand to help officers.
“This is a horrific crime scene.
“I have seen movie scenes that weren’t as horrific as this.”
One witnesses told CTV News she credits the police with protecting her and her grandchildren.
Darlene Collins said she saw the truck hit the police vehicle before the suspect vehicle collided with her jeep.
“If she hadn’t had parked where she did that truck would have hit my jeep head on,” Collins explained.
“I realize that the law enforcement, police officers put their lives on the line every day for us,” she added.
“You never really think about it until it happens to you.”
Collins said she and her two grandchildren in the jeep parked a few blocks from the action.
“I was just waiting for my back window to shatter when all those gun shots were going off.”
Officials said the downtown area of St. Paul was busy and they believe there were several witnesses.
A tip line has been set up for anyone with information and witnesses have been asked to call, 780-645-8845.
St. Paul is about 200 kilometres northeast of Edmonton.
With files from Amanda Anderson
UPDATE (23/05/14): The ASIRT investigation determined the gunman, identified as John Quadros, took his own life during the incident.