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Legislature adjourns after apparent suicide on front steps – Edmonton Journal

December 2nd, 2019

Multiple police officers respond to a body found on the steps of the Legislature Monday afternoon. The event was deemed non-criminal by police. Janet French/Postmedia

Content warning: This story contains mention of suicide.

Monday’s afternoon sitting of the legislature was temporarily adjourned after a body was found on the building’s front steps.

A person died by suicide after a firearm was shot on the legislature grounds shortly after 3 p.m.

At 3:12 p.m., Peace River MLA Dan Williams was giving a passionate speech in the legislature in an attempt to keep alive his private members’ bill about health-care workers’ conscience rights.

Speaker Nathan Cooper interrupted Williams, saying, “There is an issue that is important to the assembly.”

He asked MLAs to leave the chamber and go to their lounges, promising to provide an update later. They stood up and made their way out.

Outside, a person wearing blue jeans, colourful socks and a dark jacket was lying immobile near the bottom of the building’s front stone steps. At least a dozen police officers surrounded the body, and one officer draped a red blanket over the person.

Police had cordoned off the plaza in front of the legislature with yellow tape and were directing visitors to use the west entrance.

“There is no danger to anyone else on scene and the matter has been contained by security and the Edmonton Police Service,” said a statement from the Office of the Speaker shortly before 5 p.m.

Around 5:20 p.m., the Office of the Speaker confirmed that the assembly will reconvene at 7:30 p.m. Monday evening.

Premier Jason Kenney tweeted his condolences to the victim and their family shortly before 5 p.m.

“Saddened by the tragic event that occurred outside the Legislature this afternoon,” he said in a tweet. “Our hearts go out to the victim’s family & loved ones.”

NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley echoed his sentiments in a tweet shortly after.

“My deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of the individual involved in today’s tragic incident,” she said in a tweet.

Both Kenney and Notley encouraged those in need of mental health support to seek help through the Alberta Mental Health Helpline.

— With files from Janet French

If you or someone you know need help, please call Alberta’s Mental Health Helpline at 1-877-303-2642, HealthLink at 811, or 911 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

mwyton@postmedia.com

twitter.com/moirawyton

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