Investigation justifies shooting of homeless man by B.C. RCMP officer

Incident won’t be referred to Crown counsel for consideration of charges

The IIO released two cropped photos taken by a city of Kelowna employee just before the shooting.

The IIO released two cropped photos taken by a city of Kelowna employee just before the shooting.

An independent investigation has found a Kelowna RCMP female officer should not face charges after shooting a homeless man in August 2017.

An investigation of the incident by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. found the police officer acted in an appropriate measure when she and a City of Kelowna worker were confronted by an angry man advancing toward them waving a large axe handle in a threatening manner.

“I do not consider 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,” stated the report, co-submitted by IIO chief civilian director Ronald MacDonald and general counsel Clinton Sadlemyer.

RELATED: RCMP officer involved in Kelowna shooting

The investigation focused on conflicting accounts of how the shooting unfolded based on interviews with the individual shot in the shoulder, a serious but non-life threatening wound, and both the police officer and city worker.

On Aug. 3, 2017, beginning at about 12:55 p.m., the police officer and city worker responded to a complaint of an unauthorized homeless camp near Duck Lake Road, finding a tent or tarp lined up against a large tree near a steep embankment.

As the neared the tent, they were approached by an individual carrying an axe handle. Ignoring repeated requests by the police officer to drop the axe handle over about a 10-minute interaction, the police officer retreated until stopped by a wire fence.

The shooting victim claimed he was using the axe handle as a crutch after suffering a spider bite on the side of his knee earlier that morning which required medical treatment.

After one final warning and voiced concern from the city worker that the man “was getting …to goddamn close,” the officer fired a shot from a distance of about 5.5 metres.

The shooting victim had contested the officer used excessive force by shooting him, which could lead to charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault or assault causing bodily harm.

But the investigation found his account that he did not leave the area where his tent was pitched or advance on the police office were contradicted by two photographs taken by the city worker as the scene unfolded.

“The comments to (the shooting victim) by the police officer, as related by the (city worker), indicate the officer appropriately attempted to de-escalate the situation while at the same time protecting herself and the (city worker),” the report concluded.

“It was certainly reasonable for (the police officer) to conclude that this non-compliant and angry male with a significant weapon could easily cause her imminent grievous bodily harm.”



barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

 

Investigation justifies shooting of homeless man by B.C. RCMP officer

Just Posted

Food For the Soul is taking part in the Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser.
New Maple Ridge charity hosts Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser

Food For the Soul will host annual event that has moved online for 2021

The City of Pitt Meadows is one of 26 communities in B.C. to receive assistance as part of the Housing Needs Report program. (The News files)
Pitt Meadows receives 30K from province to assess housing needs

City CAO Mark Roberts said funding will help provide important tool to identify housing gaps

Ridge Meadows RCMP Insp. Wendy Mehat. (Black Press files)
Insp. Mehat officer in charge of Ridge Meadows Detachment

Takes over for Jennifer Hyland, who has gone to new Surrey Police Service

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) is looking into the death of man discovered Jan. 11 in east Maple Ridge. (Black Press files)
B.C.’s police watchdog investigating man’s death in Maple Ridge

Man was found dead Jan. 11 after recent contact with police

Staff at Bruce’s Country Market are being asked to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 after an exposure at the Maple Ridge grocery store. (The News files)
Employee at Maple Ridge grocery store tests positive for COVID-19

All other staff in the department have tested negative for disease

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
16% boom predicted for B.C. real estate sales in 2021: experts

Along with sales, the average price of homes is also predicted to rise, by nearly 8 percent

The trial of Harry Richardson began Monday at the Nelson courthouse. File photo
Trial of man accused of shooting RCMP officer in West Kootenay in 2019 begins

Harry Richardson is facing five charges in a Nelson courtroom

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

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

Brad Windsor has been an advocate for years to get sidewalks installed along Milburn Drive in Colwood, but to no avail. He wants city council to commit to making Milburn a priority lane for sidewalk construction in the future. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Dramatic crash caught on B.C. home security camera

Angry residents say video highlights need for sidewalks in B.C. residential neighbourhood

An independent review is underway at the Royal BC Museum after employees called out systemic, individual racism at the institution. (Twitter/RBCM)
Royal BC Museum faces allegations of systemic racism, toxic work environment

Formal investigation, survey and training launched at museum

In this May 23, 2012, file photo, an approximately 2-year-old female cougar runs away from a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife trap after being released northeast of Arlington, Wash. A cougar has attacked and severely mauled a man in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark Mulligan/The Daily Herald via AP
Cougar euthanized in B.C. after severely mauling a man north of Vancouver

Whistler RCMP officers were first on the scene and shot and killed a cougar prowling nearby

The SACH Community Hub team, from left to right: Upkar Singh Tatlay, Gary Thandi, Allysha Ram, Jassy Pandher, Harman Pander. (Submitted photo)
There’s help for South Asian men wrestling with drug addiction in Surrey

South Asian deaths related to toxic drugs increased by 255 per cent between 2015 and 2018

Most Read