Jun 09 2015 EDMONTON - A west Edmonton neighbourhood erupted in chaos Monday night as one police officer was killed and another injured in a shooting that one witness said started out as a routine arrest.
Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht held a news conference at midnight to confirm the death of Const. Daniel Woodall, a 35-year-old, eight-year veteran of the force who was recruited from Great Britain and used to serve with the Greater Manchester Police.
Sgt. Jason Harley, 38, was shot in the lower back but was protected by his body armour. Early Tuesday, Edmonton police said he had been released from hospital.
Knecht said Harley's body armour saved him. "He is doing well considering the magnitude of the event.''
Woodall, who worked for the hate crimes unit, was also wearing body armour, "but it was not engaged in this event. Sadly, he died on scene due to a catastrophic wound.''
Knecht said the other officers took cover and were pinned down by gunfire for the next 10 minutes. They came "very, very close to death.''
"We will forever be in his debt for his actions this evening,'' a sombre Knecht told reporters, calling it "a tragedy of unspeakable proportions.''
Woodall leaves behind a wife, Claire, and two young children. She thanked people in a tweet Tuesday for the support she has already received.
"Your generous outpouring of love for myself and my boys fills my heart. He is my hero, our boys' hero & Edmonton's newest hero,'' she wrote.
Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson choked back tears and struggled to talk to reporters.
"I reflect the sadness that I feel in the community,'' he said, "but I feel this most deeply as a father of young children and I'm incredibly sad for them and for Mrs. Woodall.''
Edmonton is still a safe city, he said. "By and large, good people live here ... we rely on our police to protect us from the few and the worst among us.''
Prime Minister Stephen Harper also sent condolences to Woodall's family, friends and colleagues.
"It is a very difficult reminder that police officers across our country put their lives on the line every day to serve and protect our communities and keep us safe,'' Harper said in a statement.
The suspect had been the focus of a lengthy hate crimes investigation. Knecht says police had evidence going back to February of last year.
"The online hatred and bullying of an Edmonton family had become extreme and the family members were increasingly worried about their personal safety, at which time the Edmonton Police Service became involved,'' Knecht said at a Tuesday news conference
Knecht identified the suspect as Norman Walter Raddatz, 42, who was known to police, although he did not have an extensive criminal record.
Officers had gone to the man's home in west Edmonton on Monday night to arrest him on a warrant for criminal harassment and that's when gunfire broke out. Officers found 53 bullets in the house and garage across the street, said Knecht, who added the officers didn't fire any rounds.
"Some of the bullets passed right through the house, which speaks to the power of the weapon being used. We believe a large-bore rifle was being used.''
The house the officers went to in order to arrest Raddatz burned to the ground Monday night. Police found a body in the basement they believe is Raddatz.
Knecht said an autopsy would be performed Tuesday.
It is the second death of an Edmonton-area police officer this year. RCMP Const. David Wynn, 42, died in January at a casino in St. Albert, north of the city, while trying to track down the driver of a stolen truck. Auxiliary Const. Derek Bond was seriously injured but survived.
The last officer to be killed on the job within Edmonton city limits was Const. Ezio Faraone, who was gunned down in June 1990 while trying to arrest a suspect who was fleeing from an armed robbery.