On March 15, 2015, Anthony Heffernan checked into room 414 of a Super 8 hotel located in a northeastern suburb of Calgary, just a mile down the road from the city’s international airport.
At age 27, Heffernan was a good-natured, 5-foot-9, rusty-haired electrician who frequently worked in the oil patch. He was also a high-functioning cocaine addict who occasionally checked into hotels for brief drug binges — which was his purpose on this particular Sunday. His father, Pat Heffernan, says his son’s addiction “wasn’t something that completely controlled his life, by any means... He hated it and struggled with it.”
The next morning, around 11:15 a.m., a member of the hotel’s housekeeping staff knocked on Heffernan’s door and called out, “You are due to check out today.” There was no answer except for the faint murmur of the TV. When she tried to open the door with her key, she discovered it was bolted from the inside. For the next three hours, the hotel’s staff tried fruitlessly to reach Heffernan. They finally called Calgary police.
When the police arrived, they also attempted to reach Heffernan, to no avail. They decided an armed entry into the room was warranted.