By Canadian Press
A transit police officer has been cleared of wrongdoing in a fatal confrontation in Surrey, B.C.
The Independent Investigations Office, the body that probes serious incidents involving police, issued a report saying the officer used reasonable force when she shot 23-year-old Naverone Woods in a Safeway store on December 28, 2014.
The report says two officers arrived at the scene and were confronted by a shirtless man with multiple wounds who had reportedly stabbed himself inside the grocery store.
Police ordered the man to drop the knives he was waving, but he did not and instead moved towards the officers.
The report says the knives could have caused the officers serious injury or death and the female officer’s decision to fire her gun was reasonable given the circumstances.
The officer later told investigators that she believed the young man was high on drugs or in a severe episode of mental illness.
Family remembers Naverone Woods
By Alicia Bridges
Excerpts from Jan. 14, 2015 article published in The Interior News:
Naverone Woods’ sister-in-law Tracey Woods said Naverone, who lived with her and his stepbrother Ed Patsey for three years, was a “gentle giant” who had no history of mental illness.
She said he had never shown a violent side, despite facing significant challenges in his life.
Born at the Wrinch Memorial Hospital in Hazelton in 1991, Naverone Christian Landon Woods was the son of Gwen Woods and Ron Patsey.
He had a difficult childhood, losing his mother at the age of 12, but he thrived as a teenager playing soccer and hockey while attending Hazelton Secondary School.
He graduated from HSS in 2009 and worked as a carpentry labourer with his dad and brothers before moving to Surrey.
Tracey said he enjoyed city life, and had been working part-time in construction before he died.
“He was quite proud of that,” she said.
“He had told us he got a part-time job and then within a week he had a message on Facebook saying he was offered full-time employment.”
Since his death, Tracey said it had been difficult for the family to grieve in the media spotlight.
She said negative publicity and social media comments had painted her brother-in-law as a “monster,” which she said was simply untrue.
“It was hard, it angered a lot of us because they had painted him out to be this disturbed young man and he isn’t,” she said.
“He’s had lots of challenges in his life and none of it has ever affected him to a point where he is going to be violent.”
At a funeral service at Gitanmaax Hall in Hazelton on Jan. 7, 2015, Naverone was remembered as a “truly gentle spirit.”
“He walked softly,” read the eulogy written by Tracey and Naverone’s sister Melanie.
“Nav was respectful to all he came into contact with … he had jokes to share and big hugs to give to whoever needed one.”