A man is held in police custody at District 8 station in connection with the death of a former Mountie on a Priddis Acreage. The deceased retired RCMP officer was identified as Rod Lazenby.
Credits: BRENDAN MILLER/QMI AGENCY
CALGARY - The former Mountie who died after a dispute on an Alberta ranch may have been the victim of an ambush, QMI Agency has learned.
RCMP are investigating the possible murder of the ex cop, who worked as a community peace officer in the Foothills Municipal District, 10 km west of Calgary.
RCMP spokeswoman Sgt. Patricia Neely said investigators with the RCMP and the Calgary Police Service were still trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle after someone drove the injured officer to a nearby police station.
The municipal bylaw officer was later taken to Rocky View Hospital, but was pronounced dead.
Neely would not name the deceased, but sources confirmed he is retired Mountie Rod Lazenby.
The person who drove the officer to the cop station is now in custody, but has not been charged.
Over the last several months, there had been ongoing issues over dogs at the ranch. The tenant was also facing numerous dog related charges.
Sources said Lazenby was "ambushed by the suspect, handcuffed and severely beaten."
"He was lying in wait," sources also said.
The suspect then threw Lazenby in back of bylaw SUV and drove him to the district office in Calgary.
When he arrived, the suspect entered the police station to make a report that someone was trying to steal his dogs.
Calgary Police told him that it was an RCMP matter.
"Then, he took officers outside to show them who was trying to steal his dogs," said a source.
Sources last night said RCMP knew beforehand how volatile the suspect was but there were fears their concerns weren't passed on to Foothills peace officers.
Bruce Adams, the owner of the property where the incident took place, said his tenant had run-ins with Lazenby in the past.
"He's got as few dogs. That was what the whole battle was about," Adams said, from his own property not far from the scene.
Adams estimated the tenant had about 25 Blue Heeler dogs, far in excess of what is allowable on the rural properties, but the animals posed no problems and were in good health.
He said he believed a neighbour who was trying to sell his property may have complained because the dogs would bark if you got too close to them.
He would only identify the tenant by his first name, Trevor.
"They're only allowed so many dogs on the property and I think that's what started the whole thing," he said.
Adams suggested his tenant was co-operative during earlier visits by Lazenby.
"The one time that he came, Trevor even called the RCMP in on it. Trevor did himself," he said.
Neely said police had an individual in custody, who had transported the officer to the Calgary district office using the victim's municipal vehicle.
"We're working with the Calgary Police Service to determine exactly what did occur," she said.
"We do have one subject of interest in custody," said Neely. "I don't know if he lives here, or was present," she said, of the residence where the suspected altercation occurred, tucked in amongst trees and hidden from the roadway.
"We are considering it a crime scene, we are protecting it until we can determine what happened."
She did not know why Lazenby might have been attending the home.
"Why the peace officer was here (is) part of the investigation," Neely said.
She said the investigation was ongoing and no criminal charges have been laid.