EDITOR’S NOTE: The 17-year-old in this case was originally identified in this piece as the Calgary police had applied to the courts to have his name and picture released for public identification purposes (Youth Criminal Justice Act). Since then, both suspects have turned themselves in and there’s no longer a need for the picture or name. This article has been changed to remove the 17-year-old’s name and photo.
UPDATE: Calgary police have now said the two teens wanted in Sgt. Harnett’s death have turned themselves in.
“It was because of numerous tips from the public that we were able to locate and seize the suspect vehicle within hours and examine it for key evidence. We are grateful for the collaboration between the Service, our media partners and the community in working together to find answers in this tragedy.”Staff Sergeant Martin Schiavetta of the Calgary Police Service Homicide Unit.
Calgary police Chief Mark Neufeld said he had the pleasure of meeting and working a shift with Sgt. Andrew Harnett.
Harnett, 37, a 12-year veteran of the CPS was killed during a traffic stop late on New Year’s Eve.
“His commitment to policing and to his community, right up until his very last moments, are a testament to his dedication to the community and to service,” said Chief Neufeld.
According to police, around 10:50 p.m. Dec. 31, Sgt. Harnett pulled over a vehicle in the area of Falconridge Blvd and Falconridge Drive NE. During the stop, the vehicle fled, hitting and then dragging him.
There was a second vehicle (no connection to the suspects) involved in a collision. That vehicle is also believed to have struck Sgt. Harnett, Chief Neufeld said.
Other nearby officers rushed to his aid as EMS got to the scene. Both officers and paramedics tried to save him, but Sgt. Harnett died in hospital near midnight.
Chief Neufeld said the stop was conducted because the license plate didn’t match the vehicle type. He also said the two suspects are known to police.
Two Calgary teens sought in Sgt. Harnett’s death
Two first-degree murder warrants have been issued. One is for Amir Abdulrahman, 19 of Calgary. The other is a 17-year-old, also of Calgary.
According to police, the pair were in a copper-coloured 2006 Infinit FX, with a small spare tire on the front passenger side. The vehicle also had hail damage. A photo of a similar vehicle is below. Update: This vehicle was found at 1:30 p.m. Friday after a tip from the public, police said.
When asked if it was possible if the driver didn’t know they’d hit Sgt. Harnett, his response was direct.
“We don’t believe that’s the case,” he said.
When asked if there was anger towards the suspects, Chief Neufeld was honest.
“Yeah, I would say that’s fair. I’m pissed off. It’s totally senseless,” he said.
Sgt. Harnett an ‘outstanding police officer’
Chief Neufeld said had experience working with Sgt. Harnett. He was also able to speak to other officers through the night about working with him.
Harnett had joined the CPS 12 years ago after serving as a military police officer. He was promoted to Sergeant in 2019 and assigned to District 5, police said.
“I can say here and now, without the least bit of hesitation, he was an outstanding police officer and outstanding leader and an outstanding person,” Chief Neufeld said.
“Today is the day that I’ve had nightmares about. Having to stand in front of you, our membership and the public to announce the loss of one of our officers, one of our guardians and unquestionably one of the best. He will be greatly missed by all.”
Calgary Police Association President John Orr said the service has lost a brave and dedicated member.
“He was committed to a life of service, both as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces and as a police officer,” Orr said.
“He made the ultimate sacrifice while fulfilling his oath to protect Calgarians.”
Chief Neufeld said the response to this investigation from fellow police officers has been overwhelming.
“I think these kind of incidents, particularly involving this level of adversity, tend to pull people together anyway,” said Chief Neufeld.
“It’s just amazing the way people have stepped up and I couldn’t ask for more.”
Homicide Unit is working the investigation
Chief Neufeld said the diligence displayed by Sgt. Harnett right up to the now has helped them identify suspects.
Notes, footage and other investigative work he conducted led them to the teens.
“I would say is Sgt. Harnett was a very accomplished frontline officer and a digger and very professional,” said Chief Neufeld.
“He did a very good job of capturing and recording information. And in this case, the fact that he had done that was very helpful to us in the aftermath of what happened during the traffic stop.”
They’re still hoping for the public’s help in finding the suspects. They’re also seeking witnesses to the collision.
“Please don’t assume that what you witnessed has already been reported, or perhaps that it may be insignificant. Please pick up the phone,” said Chief Neufeld.
Anyone with information can call 403-266-1234.