295: The Black Friday Siege: The Murder of Detective Boyd Davidson

Episode 295: On the afternoon of December 20, 1974, a storekeeper in Calgary, Alberta, alerted the police about a customer, Philippe Laurier Gagnon, 26, who became aggressive after being denied the sale of airplane glue. The individual fled, and police pursued him to his residence two blocks away. When officers approached the suspect’s residence, they were met with gunfire. Additional police, more than 130 officers, arrived to find the suspect armed with two rifles rifle in a garage. Gagnon refused to come out. A shootout ensued, resulting in the death of Detective Boyd Davidson, 43, after being shot in the neck. Six other officers were wounded by gunfire, and several others were injured. 

After a military armoured car arrived, police gained the upper hand, smashed into the house and dislodged the gunman from his hideout. Gagnon, who had two rape convictions, a history of assault as well as a record of mental illness and drug abuse, also died at the scene in a hail of bullets as he charged at the officers. 

Detective Davidson, a 23-year veteran of the police force and key figure in establishing the combined police and fire arson squad, left behind a wife and five children. His death and what was learned from the events led to the creation of the Calgary Police Service’s tactical team and changes to policing nationwide.

Sources:

Calgary Herald 21 Dec 1974, page 1

Edmonton Journal 24 Dec 1974, page 3

The Ottawa Journal 24 Dec 1974, page Page 2

The Vancouver Sun 28 Dec 1974, page 60

The Daily Herald-Tribune 30 Dec 1974, page 2

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