Lethbridge police officer shot with airsoft pistol

An incident involving a Lethbridge police officer getting shot by a suspect using an AirSoft pistol could have unfolded very differently last Thursday, had officers decided to return fire.  According to the criminal code, if an officer perceives an imminent threat to themself or the public they can draw their weapons and fire back.

Acting Inspector Pete Christos, who is in charge of the Criminal Investigation Division at Lethbridge Police Service, recounts the split second decisions surrounding how this incident unfolded on July 22.

“The officer relayed that shots were fired, took cover, and subsequently this individual threw the weapon away and was take into custody,” says Christos. “Did he think it was a real weapon at the time? I can tell you that I don’t know what the officer was thinking at the time – it’s a very dynamic situation and officers have to make a split second decision in how they’re responding.  Now, I will tell you that because the officer took cover immediately – of course looked where he was hit and saw there was no real injury to him, he realized it was an airsoft pistol at that time.
“We deal with things in the moment and there are times when officers are making split second decisions, which of course are subject to public scrutiny at times, but we’re very well trained and I’m glad this situation turned out the way it did.”

The officer suffered minor injuries that did not require medical attention.  The suspect, 30-year-old Lance Fred Chalifoux, has been charged with numerous offences including pointing a firearm and assaulting a police officer with a weapon.

Jeannette Rocher

Born in Puerto Rico, raised in Minnesota and Manitoba, Jeannette has had the opportunity to live in a variety of places including New York, Arizona, and Nevada. After completing college and a paid internship with CBC Winnipeg, Jeannette embarked on her journalism career by moving overseas to take a job on the island of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands. While overseas she covered stories in Fiji, Guam and Japan including the 2011 tsunami that hit Japan and its surrounding islands. She covered a mass shooting, an Earth quake, murder cases and other substantial court cases. In 2013 she moved to Alberta where she covered the devastating floods of High River and Medicine Hat for CTV News. She then went on to produce and host Go! Southern Alberta for Shaw TV. She now calls Miracle Channel home. In addition to reporting in the field, you can catch her anchoring daily weather reports, as well as longer interview segments on BCN, and the week-in-review show on BCN Weekends. 

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