RCMP Cpl. Jim Galloway Killed By Gunman in Armed Standoff

Officer Down: Cpl. Jim Galloway - [Edmonton, Alberta]

SPRUCE GROVE, Alberta, Canada -- An armed standoff involving an agitated Spruce Grove man ended tragically Saturday with the death of the man and a veteran RCMP dog handler during an exchange of gunfire.

RCMP Cpl. Jim Galloway, 53, a 31-year member, died after he was shot outside a home on Greystone Drive in the Grove Meadows area shortly before 6 p.m.

Police are not releasing the name of the other deceased man, who was 39 years old.

RCMP spokesman Cpl. Wayne Oakes said it is not yet known how the fatal shootings occurred.

But based on the reports of neighbours, it is believed the suspect shot Galloway, who was handling his dog at the time, and was then shot by police.

"All I can tell you," Oakes said, "at this time is that there was an exchange of gunfire. Cpl. Galloway was hit and died at the scene. The suspect was also shot and he also died at the scene."

Neighbours say police were called to the normally quiet Greystone Drive cul-de-sac shortly after 11 a.m. after a resident on the street noticed a bullet hole in his vehicle.

When police arrived to investigate, someone in a nearby house "frantically advised the officers to get out of the area" because another person in the same house was "armed in an agitated state," Oakes said.

Police immediately cordoned off a two-block area surrounding the house and warned nearby residents to either leave or stay in their basements.

A local television station reported the gunman called their newsroom and said he had had enough of the "crap" he had been taking from police and someone was going to die.

According to Canadian Press, RCMP contacted the man, who said he wanted to leave. They told him he couldn't. Police laid down spike belts around his car.

It's not known if, or when, the other occupant of the house left.

Next-door neighbour Casey Van Leeuwen said he spent most of Saturday in his Spruce Grove basement with his daughter during the standoff.

Van Leeuwen told The Journal that at about 11 a.m. another neighbour showed him a bullet hole in his car. The bullet had entered the driver's side window and exited through a rear fender.

The RCMP were called and Van Leeuwen was told to remain in his house. Within minutes, police, including SWAT team members, began to arrive in force.

"I made some excursions upstairs to look out the window," Van Leeuwen said.

"There were officers in SWAT gear and white fatigues and German Shepherd (dogs) everywhere."

At one point during the long day, Van Leeuwen let one of the white-clad officers crawl through his daughter's bedroom window with his M-16 rifle to take up a firing position in his living room.

"It was really bizarre," Van Leeuwen said. "It was like a movie."

Police continued their attempts to negotiate with the man throughout the day, until around 5:30 p.m., when Van Leeuwen said he heard what he believes was a loud bang and three gunshots. He looked out his window and saw officers running into the Greystone Drive cul-de-sac.

Walking outside, Van Leeuwen saw his next-door neighbour, who he knows only as Marty, face down on the ground behind his vehicle. Police then yelled at him to get back inside his house and not come out again.

Just before 6 p.m., Van Leeuwen saw a police officer being loaded into an ambulance.

Late Saturday night, Oakes said investigators were still trying to determine how the standoff ended in the death of a police officer and the suspect.

"There will be a full review of the response to the incident," Oakes said.

Van Leeuwen said he saw police remove a number of guns from the man's house last summer.

Neighbours were shocked by the violence in their quiet neighbourhood.

Erin Stevenson, 27, said she was on her way home and found herself following the ambulance that eventually transported the wounded Mountie to the hospital.

"We have never seen anything like this," Stevenson said.

Neighbour Michael Gilliard wasn't surprised by the shootings.

"It's the world we live in.

"Some people aren't satisfied with it and the way they deal with it is with violence."

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