Vancouver Island RCMP officers will not face charges following 2017 shooting that left man dead

Vancouver Island RCMP officers will not face charges following 2017 shooting that left man dead

Independent Investigations Office of B.C announces decision

A pair of Oceanside RCMP officers will not face charges following a shooting that left a man dead near Qualicum Beach in October of 2017.

Ronald J. MacDonald, chief civilian director of the Independent Investigations Office of B.C., announced the decision in a release on Monday, July 6.

Oceanside RCMP were asked to assist Emergency Health Services (EHS) at approximately 6 a.m. on Oct. 12, 2017, responding to a complaint of a man, 35, who had stabbed himself inside a vehicle on Highway 19, according to an RCMP press release at the time.

Further 911 calls informed police that the man was “running down the highway and that someone was trying to restrain him.”

READ MORE: VIDEO: IIO called to Qualicum Beach after officer-involved shooting

A confrontation at the side of the highway led to a violent struggle in which both officers were injured, leading to the man dying as a result of gunshot wounds. The IIO was notified and commenced an investigation.

The IIO report noted the man had been apprehended by RCMP members two days before, under a provision of the Mental Health Act, after becoming distressed about a recent separation from his girlfriend.

In his statement, the first officer described the officers approaching the man initially and finding him unresponsive and staring at the ground. He said as the officers were placing cuffs on each of the man’s wrists, with the intention of linking the cuffs together behind his back “[he] just lost it … we were immediately in a full-on fight.”

The officer said that in the course of the fight he was “thrown down the embankment” but was able to get back on his feet. At this point, he said, he saw that the man was on top of the second officer and was “punching down towards his face.” The first officer said even baton strikes to the man’s head were not effective in stopping the attack.

The officer said he fired a pair of shots into the ditch after the second officer shouted “he’s going for my gun!”, but the man only looked at him with a “blank stare”. The officer then discharged pepper spray into the man’s face, which only angered him and he jumped onto the officer, who claimed he feared the man would soon be able to knock him out and get control of the pistol. With the gun by his left hip, the officer said, he pointed it up into the man’s “chest/belly area.” He said he fired a round into the man, and at about that time the other officer fired a round into the man as well, from behind.

The report stated attending paramedics reported that when they arrived on scene at 6:31 a.m., they found the officers standing in the ditch with the man on the ground, unresponsive. He had two gunshot wounds and a stab wound to the chest. One paramedic told investigators that one of the officers “looked like he had the … just the ever-loving hell beat out of him. Like he had goose eggs on his head, he was bleeding, he was in visible shock.”

An autopsy showed the man had suffered five gunshot injuries in which the bullet remained in the body.

IIO investigators were able to obtain a recording from a home security system installed at a residence approximately 600 metres from the scene of the incident. The audio track from the recording provided the sequence and timing of police gunshots, though it was not possible to distinguish between shots fired by each officer.

The recording indicates three single shots spaced out over a period of approximately a minute and a half, then a space of 30 seconds, then two shots followed about five seconds later by a final group of three shots fired in a space of only about two seconds.

MacDonald noted the “conclusion is based on the evidence as a whole. There are, however, inconsistencies in some areas between witness recollections and the physical evidence. Because of those inconsistencies, it is not possible to re-create with certainty the sequence of the struggle or the precise actions of the individuals involved. However, in an intense situation involving significant physical struggle with the potential for loss of life, it is to be expected that different witnesses will recall matters differently.”

He finished by saying the evidence demonstrated that a lawful attempted detention by the two officers “turned very quickly into a violent physical confrontation because of the aggressive actions of the man”, to the point where both officers “reasonably feared grievous bodily harm or death” and resorted with justification to the use of lethal force to protect themselves and each other.

“I do not consider that there are reasonable grounds to believe that an officer may have committed an offence under any enactment and therefore the matter will not be referred to Crown counsel for consideration of charges.”

— NEWS Staff

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

qualicum beachRCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: Town of Smithers lifts alert for high levels of chlorine in water

Residents are advised town water is now safe to use

Garry Merkel has been recognized for his work in culturally appropriate Indigenous education with an honourary doctorate from the University of British Columbia.
Tahltan educator recognized with honorary doctorate from UBC

Garry Merkel has dedicated his life to improving Indigenous educational outcomes

Gareth Manderson, general manager BC Works, and Bandstra’s Zach Runions and Steve Collins. Photo supplied
Smithers family-owned business institution sold to publicly-traded company

Bandstra Transportation and Babine Trucking acquired by Mullen Group

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

B.C.’s public health restrictions on non-essential travel are reinforced by orders effective April 23, 2021 to stay within your own regional health authority except for essential travel such as work and medical appointmens. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 non-essential travel ban takes effect, $575 fines approved

Checks on highways, ferries between Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, Interior

A plan flew over the Lower Mainland with a sign expressing some Canucks fans’ discontent with the team’s general manager. (Niqhil Velji - Twitter Screenshot)
#FireBenning movement gets off the ground

Canucks fans raise enough money to fly banner over Metro Vancouver asking for team GM to be canned

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The freed osprey keeps a wary eye on its rescuers after being deposited on its nest. (Photo credit: Greg Hiltz)
Hydro crew in Ashcroft gets osprey rescue call-out they won’t soon forget

Bird was tangled in baling wire hanging from a hydro pole, necessitating a tricky rescue

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth speaks to media at the Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday February 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to announce travel restrictions today to limit COVID-19 spread

Mike Farnworth is expected to give details of what the government views as essential travel

Richard Desautel with supporters outside the courthouse in Nelson, B.C., in 2016. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
UPDATED: Sinixt, First Nation bordering Canada-U.S., can claim Indigenous rights, top court rules

The decision essentially reverses a 1956 declaration the Sinixt were extinct

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

Most Read