Three serious incidents in just 90 minutes Thursday night put the public and police at risk, and tied up more than 35 police units.
At 6:30 pm, police were called to the 600 block of Wellington Avenue for a shooting.
George Prieston, 29, was shot multiple times and died in hospital. His dog was also shot and had to be put down by police.
Witnesses reported that a military-style assault rifle was used in the shooting – it has not been found.
Constable Rob Carver says those weapons are illegal and very dangerous.
“A bulletin has gone out to our officers this morning warning about the risk of this type of weapon and we’re advising our members to use extreme caution,” he said.
Two men have been arrested. More arrests are possible. Police say the suspects and victim knew one another and suspect drugs could be involved.
Fifteen minutes before the shooting, police were dispatched to the Polo Park area for another gun call.
A loss prevention officer at the mall tried to stop a suspected shoplifter. But the suspect pulled out a handgun and ran. He fled through the parking lot and the movie theatre before forcing a woman from her car and taking off with the vehicle.
Police chose to pursue the car, which reached speeds of up to 100 km/h.
Officers brought the vehicle to a stop on Goulding Street near Portage Avenue. Carver says two police cruisers were damaged, but luckily everyone was safe.
“A high level of risk to not only members of the public but our responding members. Fortunately, very fortunately, no one in this incident was physically injured.”
28-year-old Randy Terrance Ryle is facing 21 charges.
One hour later, the tactical team was sent to a third call.
Police were tracking a suspect involved in a commercial robbery in the 100 block of St. Anne’s Road.
Officers spotted the vehicle several times, but because it was speeding and swerving, they backed off.
They finally tracked it down near St. Vital Mall and arrested a 31-year-old man.
Two more police cruisers were damaged.
Over the course of the evening, more than 100 calls to police went unanswered because they were so busy.
“This often involved hours of overtime, backup resources being pulled in from other districts. Every available officer is often pulled into these or to back-fill in terms of the other calls waiting for service,” Carver said.
Police are thankful that no officers or innocent bystanders were injured.