By Rob Vogt Local Press Writer
A Claresholm man has been charged by the Calgary Police Service in connection to an officer-related shooting last week. According to information from the Calgary Police Service and the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), at approximately 4:05 a.m., on Sunday, Aug. 25, police were called to a parking lot in a shopping complex, located in the 200 block of Shawville Boulevard S.E.
There were reports of a suspicious person, who was making threatening statements, and armed with a bat. ASIRT’s investigation has included the seizure of Body Worn Camera (BWC) video, which is still being reviewed and analyzed.
The availability of this type of evidence can provide critical information and context. ASIRT stated that upon arrival, officers located a man near several outdoor picnic tables and pulled up to this location. The BWC video from involved officers confirmed that as a uniformed officer exited a marked police vehicle, the man immediately started moving towards the officer, brandishing a large machete in his right hand and a small folding knife in his left hand, as the officer backed away. At 4:08 a.m., as the man continued to close the distance, the officer fired his service pistol and the man was struck in the lower torso and fell to the ground in a seated position, still armed with both the machete and the knife.
The man continued to wave the weapons while seated on the pavement, as officers continued to try and direct the man to surrender. Attempts to negotiate with the man continued as additional officers arrived. In an attempt to disarm the man, an Arwen less-lethal launcher, which fires plastic rounds, was deployed multiple times – but it didn’t succeed in disarming the man, who refused to drop the weapons.
The tactical unit arrived and tried to negotiate with the man, who continued to refuse to put down his weapons. At approximately 7 a.m., tactical officers used a PepperBall launcher, which fires projectiles dispersing pepper powder, and a CEW, commonly referred to as a Taser, to disarm the man. This allowed officers to move in and take the man into custody so his injuries could be safely treated. The man was transported to hospital with injuries that were not considered life-threatening. It was determined that as a result of this incident he had sustained a broken femur, and penetrating wound(s) as a result of the discharge of the firearm and/or the Arwen less-lethal launcher. Which use of force caused or contributed to the man’s injuries remains part of the ongoing investigation. Both the machete and the small folding knife were recovered at the scene.
The Calgary Police Service stated that as a result of the incident, Daniel Richard Balcerzak, 35, of Claresholm, is charged with:
• Two counts of assaulting a police officer;
• Two counts of assault with a weapon;
• One count of weapon dangerous to public peace;
• One count of uttering threats to cause death. Balcerzak remains in custody in hospital in stable, non life-threatening condition and is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019.
The Calgary Police Service also stated, “This incident highlights the reality that there are no routine calls in policing. When our officers respond to a call from the public in their time of need, we are driven by our duty to protect public safety. At times this means officers find themselves at risk, needing to respond to a dynamic situation that unfolds quickly.”