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'Heavily armed' man fired shots, threw Molotov cocktail in Edmonton city hall: chief


The person who fired shots from a long gun and threw a Molotov cocktail at city hall on Tuesday was "heavily armed," Edmonton's police chief says.

At a news conference on Tuesday afternoon, Chief Dale McFee shared details about the active shooter situation.

"At approximately 10:25 this morning, the Edmonton Police Service received reports of shots fired at city hall. Within minutes, officers arrived and took one adult male into custody," McFee told reporters.

"The event has since concluded and I would like to reassure the public that we believe this individual acted alone. There is no indication that there were accomplices and there are no further concerns for public safety."

Audio of the shots could be heard on the live feed from the Emergency Advisory Committee meeting around 10:25 a.m.

Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi and councillors Jo-Anne Wright and Aaron Paquette were among the people present in-person for the meeting, which was immediately put into recess.

McFee says a Grade 1 class was also at city hall when the shooting happened.

Edmonton Police Service Chief Dale McFee speaks to reporters on Jan. 23, 2024. (Jeremy Thompson/CTV News Edmonton)

"The suspect entered city hall through the parkade. He then proceeded through city hall with a firearm, firing multiple shots and shattering glass within the building."

"In addition to the firearm, the suspect was heavily armed with several handled incendiary devices, which we believe to be Molotov cocktails, causing one small fire outside of an elevator."

McFee says the man, who was reportedly dressed in a security uniform, was initially detained by an unarmed Commissionaire before police arrived.

"His actions were above and beyond and for that we're grateful."

"We're incredibly lucky today that there are no reported injuries and no lives have been lost."

The motive of the man isn't yet known, and McFee could not confirm whether or not he was known to police.

The man's identity was not released.

McFee said further updates, including charges, would be released in the future.

'There's a shooter'

Earlier in the day, Wright spoke to CTV News Edmonton about her experience.

"We were in the middle of an emergency management meeting and heard a few bangs, thought maybe it was setting up an event or something going on in the city room," she said. "And then [I] heard another series of bangs, I looked over to the city staff, and I said, 'Should we be worried?' And just shortly right after that, security said 'There's a shooter,' and locked the doors."

Wright says everyone was asked to move to the back of the room, and when it was safe they were escorted out of the building.

"The whole time staff were just so good about making sure accounting for everybody, that everybody was safe, those that weren't around, finding out if they were at home or on route somewhere else.

"I really have to hand it to them, the way that they handled it."

Sohi released a statement via video on Tuesday afternoon.

"I know many Edmontonians will be shocked by the news of this event. And I share those feelings," he said.

"City hall has been an open and welcoming space for decades. And I'm confident that it will continue to be. My office has been working closely with the administration and we will follow the advice of the security professionals as we determine the next steps."

Sohi added that support is available to city staff who want it through the employee family assistance program.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith released a statement on social media Tuesday afternoon, thanking police for their quick response.

City hall remains closed, and a spokesperson for the city says the meetings scheduled for Wednesday have been postponed.

City manager Andre Corbould says the building will be reopened "as soon as it is safe to do so."

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Nav Sangha and Jeremy Thompson Top Stories

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