Edmonton Police Service held a briefing Tuesday afternoon to inform the public that they arrested one suspect following a shooting and firebombing within the halls of Edmonton city hall earlier that day.
At approximately 10:25 a.m., “the Edmonton Police Service received reports of shots fired at City Hall. Within minutes, officers arrived and took one adult male into custody,” Chief Dale McFee said.
The shooter appeared to be dressed in a security guard uniform, witnesses on the scene said. McFee did not confirm this detail. McFee specified the shooter came up from the underground parkade and fired multiple rounds from a long gun that could, “fire multiple rounds quickly,” and that he appeared to be “shooting randomly,” shattering glass. Police say the suspect also threw a Molotov cocktail from the second floor of the atrium down to the first floor, causing a small fire.
“The suspect was heavily armed with several handled incendiary devices, which we believe to be Molotov cocktails,” McFee said.
A motive has not been determined at this early stage of the investigation, McFee made clear.
“It is also worth noting that it’s an unarmed commissionaire that initially detained this individual. His actions were above and beyond, and for that we are grateful.” McFee said, adding that EPS officers arrived within minutes.
City hall was placed into lockdown to allow officers to determine if there was any additional threat to the public, and whether there were any casualties. “Officers, including EPS tactical and bomb unit cleared city hall to confirm there were no injuries or casualties.” McFee said.
The shooting was audible on the city council web feed, which was broadcasting an in-session emergency advisory meeting.
Mayor Amarjeet Sohi issued a statement on social media, saying that he is “shocked,” by this incident.
See my statement following the serious incident at today at Edmonton City Hall. pic.twitter.com/W7Yw3X0lXg— Amarjeet Sohi (@AmarjeetSohiYEG) January 23, 2024
Council meetings for the remainder of yesterday and today have been postponed. “My office has been working closely with administration, and we will follow the advice of security officials as we determine next steps.” Sohi said.
A grade one class was visiting city hall on a field trip at the time the incident occurred.
An Edmonton Public Schools spokesperson said the class was divided into two groups in separate activities prior to the lockdown. One group ended up in lockdown in city hall chambers, while the other was kept in the Stanley Milner Library, each group with accompanied by a staff member.
The school board says its critical incident staff will be available to provide support in the coming days.