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Canada shaken by most Mountie murders since 1800s

[JURIST] Canada's elite Royal Canadian Mounted Police suffered their most casualties since the late 1800s Thursday when four officers were killed in a raid on a suspected marijuana growing operation in Alberta. A fifth man, believed to the the suspect in the slayings, was also killed. A high-powered rifle was recovered at the scene. Contact with the officers was lost early Thursday morning. RCMP Assistant Commissioner Bill Sweeney. commander of the RCMP in Alberta [K Division website; see the latest K Division press releases on the incident], told reporters that the police killings were unprecedented in modern Canadian history, and that the the last time so many RCMP officers were killed in an operation was probably during the Northwest Rebellion in 1885, when Western Metis and indigenous groups fought for autonomy against Canadian government troops and police.

Police killings are relatively rare in Canada; only 59 RCMP officers have been murdered in the line of duty [CBC backgrounder] in the entire history of the force. According to Officer Down [memorial website], a total of 738 Canadian police officers from all jurisdictions and forces have died in the line of duty, as compared to 17,427 US police officers.

CBC News has more. Watch Assistant Commissioner Sweeney's briefing to reporters [CBC video]. RCMP Commissioner Giuliano (Zack) Zaccardelli has made a formal statement [RCMP press release] on the killings, as has Anne McLellan [CBC video], former Canadian Justice Minister and now Canada's Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

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