Ryan McCracken photo
A bystander makes a phone call while watching emergency response crews attend to the situation following Friday evening's shootout on Main Street in St. Paul.
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Eyewitnesses describe 'surreal' scene of chaos
A scene of chaos erupted in St. Paul’s main street on Friday night, as eyewitnesses described their view of the shooting between RCMP members and a deceased suspect, identified now as John Quadros, owner of a local business.
Sarah Herperger-Goulet was parked on Main Street beside the former Liquidation World building at about 6 p.m., when she noticed a police vehicle at the set of lights near her.
“I looked away for two seconds and I hear a huge bang and the cop truck is gone, and in (its) place is this big, black, tinted-out, wrecked to the nines Dodge, smoking from the front.”
In that two seconds, another witness would describe what she called a lifesaving moment. Tammy Roeder-Renauld explained she was in her van next to the ATB bank when a police officer passed her and another truck and swerved sideways at the lights to stop the oncoming black Dodge in what Roeder-Renauld called an “amazing” act of bravery.
“I am sure that if she had not put her life on the line that it would have been me and the gentleman in front of me that would have been hurt or killed.”
The speed with which the truck would hit the police vehicle would leave bits and pieces of vehicle strewn across the street half a block away, an indication of how fast the truck was going, RCMP later said. The impact of the collision trapped the RCMP member inside the vehicle, where she would later have to be extracted using the Jaws of Life and airlifted to the University of Alberta hospital for treatment of serious, but not life-threatening, injuries.
“I would like to publicly thank her for doing this, she has amazing courage,” said Roeder-Renauld.
Seconds from that crash, Herperger-Goulet was just about to get out for help when she heard a “pop pop pop” sound that she couldn’t immediately place. She and Roeder-Renauld both first thought it was part of the accident, and their instinct was to get help.
“I had no idea there was a high speed chase,” Roeder-Renauld said, of the fact that RCMP had been chasing the black truck after identifying it at the scene of shots earlier at the RCMP detachment.
Police began pulling into the block from different directions with one pulling directly in front of her vehicle.
She recognized the driver of the smoking black Dodge as 55-year-old Quadros, the owner of Health Mart 2000. She watched as he drew a gun out the driver’s window at the police to the east of him. Police would later say multiple weapons were found inside the vehicle.
Herperger-Goulet jumped out of her van to run around to the opposite side between the building and van. An RCMP member shouted at her, “Stay down!” and she began vibrating with fear.
She took out her phone to call her husband and parents to see if they were OK, but could barely dial as her hands shook.
Roeder-Renauld also was immediately on the phone with her husband, telling her she was in the middle of what had become a shootout between the RCMP and Quadros.
“The guy pointed his gun at the man in front of me and then looked at me on the phone, so I ducked down further, but he never fired in our direction,” she recalled.
One member took a shot to the hand, while a spray of glass hit another member’s face in the gunfight. Both were later taken to hospital, with the one suffering from the wound to his hand released later that same night. A short time later, Herperger-Goulet heard an officer cry out, “'He's down, he's down,' and I looked up and saw him slumped over.”
Police members crept closer and flung the back doors of the Dodge truck open to reveal it was empty, she said. Herperger-Goulet saw another officer reach into the front and throw the suspect’s gun onto the ground and check for a pulse.
She watched as they drew him to the ground, handcuffed him and checked his pulse, only to shake their heads.
“It was all surreal and unbelievable.”
Roeder-Renauld only later heard that it was Quadros who was involved in the shootout, but it struck her as she had been into his store and talked to him a number of times and never suspected he could be involved in such an incident. "I was shocked."
The evening of violence began with shots being fired outside the St. Paul RCMP detachment on Friday just before 6 p.m., along with a call to RCMP about a man in medical distress at close to the same time. The shooting death of Father Gilbert Dasna has since been confirmed but it is still unknown if the incident is related to the shootout on main street.
More details and updates about this incident will be posted as they become available. RCMP urge anyone with more information on Friday night's events to contact the RCMP tip line at 780-645-8845.