Officer who fatally wounded woman on Christmas morning previously killed man in line of duty

The officer who fatally shot and killed 29-year-old Stacey Perry on Dec. 25, 2018, mortally wounded a Calgary man in 2011.

Const. Stephen Cook, a 10-year veteran with the Calgary Police Service, fired at Perry after she pinned a female officer following a spree of dangerous driving.

The shooting is being investigated by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team. Cook is on a 30-day administrative leave.

In 2011, Cook shot Corwin (Corey) Peeace, 40, four times after breaching an Erin Woods home.

During a subsequent fatality inquiry in 2013, Cook said he had fired a gun in the line of duty with the South African Police Service and with the British military deployed in Iraq.

Cook told his lawyer, Willie deWit, during the inquiry that he was dispatched to the home after Peeace’s common-law spouse, Vanessa Severight, called 911 unable to speak freely.

On the call, a male in the background could be overheard saying, “You are going to die tonight.” Cook said he drew his firearm, kicked in the door and, based on what he said was an imminent threat to the woman, shot Peeace four times.

“If he had brought the knife down, he would have stabbed her in the neck or shoulder area. I believed he was about to stab this female and I expected she was going to die today, as I heard,” Cook said.

Facebook page photo of Stacey Perry, friends and family have identified her has the person shot dead by Calgary police Christmas morning.

Just after midnight on Christmas morning, Perry was driving erratically near 9th Avenue and Blackfoot Trail S.E. in a grey Honda Accord coupe with a B.C. licence plate. Officers tried to stop her vehicle on suspicion of impaired driving.

However, she failed to pull over. Driving through the city’s northwest, police said she was running red lights at fluctuating speeds.

Two more traffic stops were attempted, also unsuccessfully, around 12:30 a.m. Police stopped following the vehicle about 10 minutes later, citing “safety reasons.”

Less than two hours later, police received a call about a driver “running red lights and doing U-turns” in the northeast community of Falconridge. Officers located the same grey Honda from earlier, being driven the wrong way into oncoming lanes of traffic throughout northeast Calgary.

Police attempted a controlled stop of the two-door car, which was entering onto McKnight Boulevard from Stoney Trail, by positioning a police vehicle in the front of the coupe and additional police vehicles on each side of, and behind, the car.

As officers began to exit their vehicles, “the sedan was put in motion,” according to ASIRT in a statement issued after the incident.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team investigates after officer-involved shooting on McKnight Boulevard between 68th Street N.E. and Stoney Trail in Calgary on Christmas Day. Al Charest/Postmedia

Perry’s ex-boyfriend, Vincent Church, said she battled alcohol and substance abuse issues in the past and was known to panic when her addiction got the best of her.

“That panic could take several forms; it would cause her to run away from a situation,” said Church. “It wouldn’t happen often, but that panic would set in.”

“(The day she was shot) she may have undoubtedly had a bad time, or bad episode or somebody threatened her or did something to her to cause her to panic,” he said. “It would probably give her the fight or flight reflexes and when she became distressed, she didn’t always make the best decisions.”

In a statement, Calgary Police Association president Les Kaminski said officers come to work with the hope they don’t have to use force on another individual.

“However, it is our duty to protect the public, other officers, and ourselves. This is the harsh reality of police work,” he said in a statement.

“Thankfully, the majority of police officers go their entire careers without being forced to take a human life; however, fate dictates that occasionally an officer may be involved in multiple events.

“Our citizens can have confidence because when a critical incident does occur, it is carefully scrutinized on its own merit. The actions of every officer involved is meticulously dissected, and each case is judged independently. The actions taken by the officers are either justified, or they will be brought to task. We have complete confidence that this investigation will be no different.”

Email: zlaing@postmedia.com | On Twitter: @zjlaing

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