A rural crime incident just outside of Calgary nearly turned deadly after a thief exchanged gunshots with a property owner. 

According to the Airdrie RCMP, the incident took place on the afternoon of January 26, 2021. 

Residents alerted police that somebody was in the process of stealing a pickup truck at a property in Rocky View County. 

“The homeowner reported that the suspect was still on the property in the stolen truck and he was stuck in the driveway,” said Airdrie RCMP Cpl. Gina Slaney. 

“The suspect fired a shot at the property owner and neighbour, and the neighbour returned fire in self defence. Thankfully, no one was injured during this exchange.” 

The suspect is believed to have been armed with a .22-cal. rifle at the time of the exchange. 

“It was quite intense for a while – it was just a guy trying to steal someone’s vehicle and then this,” said Slaney. 

After the brief gunfire, the suspect fled the property on foot and was eventually captured by a police canine unit nearly 20 minutes later. 

“The suspect suffered non-life-threatening injuries (from the dog),” reported Slaney. 

32-year-old Blaine Elliot Manywounds of Calgary was charged with 11 criminal offences as a result of the incident. The charges include break and enter, obstructing a police officer, theft of a motor vehicle, possession of a firearm while prohibited and discharging a firearm with intent. 

The suspect is due to appear in Airdrie Provincial Court on Feb 11. 

According to Statistics Canada, rural communities in the West are disproportionately affected by higher crime rates than their urban counterparts.

“As with most property crimes, rates of break and enter and motor vehicle theft were higher in the Prairie provinces, especially Alberta. In 2017, police reported 978 break and enter incidents per 100,000 population in rural Alberta,” claimed Statistics Canada.

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