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Ontario police rifle goes off during raid

By Melinda Dalton
The Record

KITChENER-WATERLOO, Ontario — A high-powered police rifle went off accidentally yesterday during an officer's struggle with a suspect, sending a bullet through a floor and into the apartment below.

Waterloo regional police had gone to the home on Maurice Street at about 2:50 a.m. for what was deemed a high-risk action.

Police believed a weapon was inside one of the apartments, Insp. Bryan Larkin said. Armed with a warrant, tactical officers broke down the apartment door with a battering ram.

The confrontation with the suspected drug dealer happened after the Emergency Response Unit got inside.

An officer announced he was from the police and had a warrant. He was in full tactical gear and carried a rifle, which was pointing at the floor, Larkin said.

"The officer, through his peripheral vision, saw a male lunge toward him," he said.

"He actually landed on top of him  ... The other officers then heard a firearm discharge."

The bullet passed through the floor and into the unit below, he said.

The man who lunged at the officer was quickly subdued and arrested.

Two Kitchener women, aged 28 and 19, were also arrested at the apartment.

A man was in the room directly below the scuffle, but he was not aware of the police activity.

The man, the police officer and the suspect were all unhurt in the incident.

The search of the home was the result of an investigation that began in September, Larkin said.

"As result of that investigation, we had information that there was a weapon in the residence," Larkin said.

This was the rationale for the nighttime search and the use of the tactical team.

When police searched the apartment, they found 19 grams of cocaine, six grams of marijuana and small amounts methamphetamine and ecstasy.

Officers also seized a pistol-style BB gun made to look like a handgun, pepper spray, drug paraphernalia and cash.

Larkin said police are reviewing the incident, as is done whenever a police weapon is fired.

"We have an obligation to determine what transpired," he said.

"We're not sure how (the rifle) discharged, but, at this point, we're thankful that nobody was seriously injured."

The three accused were jointly charged with two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking and three counts of possession of a controlled substance.

The man, a 38-year-old Kitchener resident, was also charged with assaulting a police officer.

Copyright 2008 The Record

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