A 16-year-old boy shot by police outside of a Winnipeg convenience store on Thursday evening is in hospital in critical but stable condition.
Police pulled up to the 7-Eleven near the corner of Arlington Street and Ellice Avenue around 5:30 p.m. after being called about an armed robbery in progress.
In videos obtained by CBC News, the teen could be seen banging something against the glass doors from the inside of the store.
As police surround the front of the convenience store, the teen walks out holding something above his head. Witnesses have told CBC it was a machete while police would only call it a weapon.
The boy continues alongside the front sidewalk across the path of an officer standing with his service pistol drawn and pointed.
Moments later nine shots could be heard and the boy drops to the pavement.
Watch video shot by a witness (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT):
“The suspect did not comply with the officer’s demands to drop the weapon and continued to advance toward him. At this point the officer discharged his weapon striking the suspect,” police spokesperson Const. Rob Carver said at a news conference late Friday.
One officer, who sustained a minor injury to the hand, was treated at hospital and released.
“We’re not sure if it was directly related to the shooting — if it was potentially a ricochet or shrapnel,” Carver said.
The Independent Investigation Unit (IIU) of Manitoba is investigating the shooting while police are still looking into charges against the teen.
“He’s still in hospital. We never lay charges when someone is still in hospital,” Carver said.
A witness to the incident told CBC News that 7-Eleven’s doors are locked and customers need to ask a clerk to buzz them in and out, and that’s why the boy was pounding on the glass — attempting to break the window to get out.
Once police arrived, the store clerk unlocked the doors, the witness said.
Carver said that is his understanding as well but he can’t speak about it because it is part of the IIU investigation.
For that same reason, he can’t talk about what happened in the store prior to the boy trying to get out. He did say, though, that no one in the store was injured.
Use of force
Questioned about the number of shots that were fired, Carver said he could not comment about the use of force in the case because of the ongoing investigation.
He would also not say how many times the teen was struck.
But in general, he said, when an officer is confronted by a deadly threat like a machete, they need to discharge their weapon as many times as necessary to stop it.
“It’s not like in the movies. We have all sorts of scientific evidence that what is required to stop that threat and it typically takes multiple rounds to [the target’s] centre mass,” Carver said.
If an officer misses, they need to fire again because that bullet was useless, he said.
The exterior wall of the 7-Eleven was marked on Friday with several chalk circles surrounding what appeared to be bullet holes.
“Your life is being threatened and you have split seconds to make that decision and multiple rounds have to be fired to stop the threat,” Carver said. “Anyone who doesn’t understand that is simply being an armchair quarterback and has no concept of what’s required.”
‘Someone’s going to get hurt’
Carver also directed comments to people who record dangerous incidents on their phones, urging them to stop.
“Someone’s going to get hurt doing this one day and all I can say is, well, we told you so,” said Carver.
In the past, people used to steer clear of an area if they saw a gun was involved.
“Now people want to walk toward it with their phones, going, ‘Well, this looks interesting,'” said Carver. “I just can’t express how dangerous that is.”