EVANSBURG, Alta. — Police believe a fleeing suspect who died in an exchange of gunfire with officers in Alberta was wanted for the murder of a Calgary woman, a sister of the woman says.
Adam Bettahar, 21, was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for first-degree murder in connection with the death of Nadia El-Dib, 22, whose body was found in a backyard northeast Calgary last weekend.
Police have not released the name of the suspect who died Thursday, but El-Dib’s older sister Racha says a Calgary police detective phoned her family Thursday to tell them they believed it was Bettahar.
A Mountie also suffered non-life threatening injuries in the incident and was taken to hospital by air ambulance.
RCMP have said an officer in Evansburg spotted a man on Thursday who was believed to be wanted on a Canada-wide warrant that had been issued in Calgary, and a chase began after he failed to stop his vehicle.
In the confrontation that followed, police say the suspect was killed and the RCMP officer suffered minor injuries.
In an interview on Friday, Racha El-Dib said the incident has provided “a form of closure” for her family.
“We’re (now) able to mourn our sister Nadia and be able to focus on her, especially with the funeral coming up on Sunday and the burial on Monday,” El-Dib said.
Alberta’s police watchdog has taken over the investigation of the suspect’s death but has also not released the name, and no one from the organization responded to a request for comment on Friday.
Premier Rachel Notley, however, posted a series of tweets in which she linked the shooting incident with El-Dib’s death.
Notley said her thoughts were with the nearby communities and the officer who was injured. She also thanked officers from nearby detachments who helped during the chase.
“My heart goes out to the family and friends of Ms. El-Dib, who died tragically in a related incident in Calgary last weekend. May they find comfort during this extremely difficult time,” Notley wrote on Twitter.
Police in Calgary would not confirm Friday whether the arrest warrant for Bettahar was still active.
RCMP have said that after Thursday’s chase began, the pursuit continued on Highway 16 between Evansburg and Entwistle, travelling eastbound and westbound multiple times as RCMP officers from several nearby communities joined the effort to stop the driver.
The force says the man managed to get around tire spikes until the tactic succeeded at Nojack, about 35 kilometres west of where the chase began.
Investigators in Calgary have said they believed Bettahar and El-Dib were in a relationship for a short time prior to her death.
Racha El-Dib said there were four girls in her family, and all four lived at home with their parents in Calgary.
Nadia, she said, was in her first year of a legal assistant program at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, and had plans to one day pursue a law degree.
Since her death, El-Dib said her family has received an outpouring support from across North America, as well as from family in Lebanon.
“She impacted so many people because she was so friendly and loving and bubbly,” El-Dib said.
“We’re really proud of her.”
The Canadian Press