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UPDATE - ASIRT continues probe into elderly man’s death at Sundre hospital

Reports say man died following physical confrontation with law enforcement
RCMP graphic on Sundre death
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team has joined RCMP with its own probe into the death of an elderly man at Sundre hospital on Sept. 23 following a physical confrontation with law enforcement. File Photo/MVP File

SUNDRE – Investigators probing the death of an elderly man following a physical confrontation at the Sundre hospital are tying to locate anyone who may have witnessed a disturbance between the deceased and police.

In a follow-up news release on Sept. 26, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) is asking anyone who may have been in the hospital area at around 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 23 and may have witnessed a physical confrontation or have video to contact investigators at 403-592-4306.

On Friday, Sept. 23, at about 10:54 a.m., RCMP responded to a 911 call from an Alberta Health Services peace officer to assist with what police describe as “a physically violent subject” in the hospital.

“Upon arrival, a physical confrontation occurred. Following the confrontation, the male subject went into medical distress,” RCMP media relations officer Cpl. Gina Slaney said in the Sept. 23 news release.

At about 12:20 p.m., the man, a 72-year-old resident of Sundre, died in hospital.

As a result, ASIRT was called in to investigate the circumstances surrounding the actions of police and the peace officer during the incident.

In the Sept. 26 news release, ASIRT provided new details into the man’s death.

ASIRT said the man went to the Sundre hospital at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 23 and was seen by medical staff.

The news release said the man was assessed and admitted under the Mental Health Act. Against the directions of medical staff, he then went outside at about 10:30 a.m., the ASIRT release said.

ASIRT said an Alberta Health Services peace officer went with him and an altercation occurred between them as the man was exiting the hospital.

The peace officer called police and at about 11 a.m. an officer from the Sundre RCMP detachment arrived.

 The news release said the police officer and the peace officer spoke to the man outside of the hospital for about 20 to 30 minutes, and then a second physical altercation occurred.

ASIRT’s investigation will examine the circumstances surrounding the uses of force.

The Sept. 26 news release said no additional information will be released.

RCMP is also holding their own internal review “to gather a full account of what took place during this incident,” said Slaney on Sept. 23.

“RCMP training, policy, police response, and the duty status of the members involved will be subject to review,” she added.

Slaney said RCMP are “fully cooperating” with ASIRT and as a result of that investigation are not commenting further on the matter.

With files from Doug Collie