Two suspects sought in connection to the death of Calgary Sgt. Andrew Harnett have been arrested after they turned themselves in to police on Friday.
Harnett died on New Year’s Eve after police said he was struck by the vehicle of a driver trying to flee a traffic stop.
On Friday evening, police said Amir Abdulrahman, 19, and Al-Azan Shah Muhammad, 17, surrendered to police at approximately 5:30 p.m. MT and were arrested. Police allege Muhammad was driving the vehicle that struck and killed Harnett.
The police took the unusual step of making an application to the youth division of the Calgary Provincial Court in order to identify the youth wanted in this case.
They confirm the arrests were in relation to the officer’s death.
By Friday afternoon, a tactical unit descended on a Calgary home on Martindale Crescent N.E.
A large police presence were in front of the home, and multiple people were removed from the home with their arms above their heads.
It’s not known at this time whether the operation is related to the investigation.
Area resident Sunil Verma said it was frightening to see police activity unfold in his neighbourhood.
“It’s the first time something like this has happened in this area,” Verma said. “This is a quiet area. We’re all shocked from last night’s incident, and seeing the SWAT team and police cars in the area is scary.”
The Calgary Police Service said the traffic stop incident occurred around 10:50 p.m. MT on Thursday in the area of Falconridge Boulevard and Falconridge Drive N.E.
“During the traffic stop, the vehicle fled, striking the officer in the process,” police said in a statement.
Nearby officers rushed to the officer’s aid as quickly as possible and were joined by paramedics.
“Despite desperate attempts by his colleagues, and members of EMS, he died as a result of his injuries” in hospital around midnight, the statement said.
‘He loved policing,’ brother says
Harnett was the youngest of three boys in his family. Jason Harnett, the eldest, said his brother always wanted to be a police officer.
“He was deeply loved, and he loved policing,” Jason said. “He didn’t need to be out on Christmas Day. He didn’t need to be out on New Year’s Eve. He just loved doing it.”
Jason said his brother had a great relationship with the entire police force, including Calgary police Chief Mark Neufeld.
According to Jason, Harnett went on a ride-along with the new chief shortly after he took the position.
“He knew everything he needed to know, and that chief quickly recognized that, and he wanted Andrew to tour and show him the essence of what the beat cops do on a daily basis,” Jason said. “So he was well-respected and loved there.”
Jason said the entire family is devastated, adding that he hoped the full resources of the police service would be used to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“You don’t want them wandering around, and Andrew wouldn’t want that either,” he said.
Police chief says community is mourning
Neufeld, speaking before the suspects turned themselves in, said the vehicle was stopped because the licence plates did not match the vehicle and that the suspects are known to police, but he declined to elaborate.
“Our service, and our community, is mourning on this first day of 2021,” he said.
“More importantly, a family has lost a son, a sibling has lost a brother, a spouse has lost a partner, and many, many members of our service have lost a really good friend.”
WATCH | Calgary police identify officer killed as Sgt. Andrew Harnett:
Calgary police identify officer killed by fleeing vehicle
8 hours agoVideo
Sgt. Andrew Harnett, 37, was killed on duty when a driver fled the scene of a traffic stop on New Year’s Eve.3:33
Neufeld said Harnett was hit by the vehicle and dragged and that another vehicle was also struck and that driver remained at the scene and was helping with the investigation.
He said that vehicle “may have come into contact with Sgt. Harnett.”
“There is a massive effort underway to locate and bring to justice those responsible for taking the life of one of our members,” reads an update from police issued Friday morning.
“Dozens of sworn and civilian members are working around the clock tracking down each and every lead, and these efforts will not stop.”
12th Calgary police officer killed in history
At Friday’s news conference, Neufeld said Harnett was diligent at collecting information and that practice, as well as a body camera worn by Harnett, has helped officers identify the suspects in his death.
Harnett, 37, joined the service 12 years ago after serving as a military police officer and was promoted to sergeant in 2019.
He is the 12th officer to be killed in the history of the Calgary Police Service, dating back to 1878. The last officer who lost his life while on duty was Const. Darren Beatty, who died in 2001 during a training exercise.
“The profound grief this has brought to all members of the Calgary Police Service and their families is unmeasurable,” police said in a statement.
Charlotte Seehawer was bringing flowers to the scene on Friday, and said she wanted to pay tribute to the fallen officer.
“I’m at a loss for words. My heart is broken,” she said.
Premier Jason Kenney started a Friday news conference, saying his thoughts are with friends, family and colleagues of Harnett.
“His death reminds us of the very real risks taken by police officers every day to protect public safety,” he said.
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