No charges will be considered against police officers who fired a “volley of carbine rounds” at the suspect in a homicide and hostage incident on the Campbell River waterfront in June, 2022.
The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of BC’s Chief Civilian Director made that determination in a report released Dec. 11. Ronald J. MacDonald said the suspect died at his own hands just moments before police officers hit him with nine postmortem gunshots on Monday, June 13, 2022 at the Discovery Harbour Marina in Campbell River.
The report does not name the shooting victim, but attributes his death to a “single, fatal, intraoral shotgun wound.”
The report adds that “the evidence is reasonable for the ERT (Emergency Response Team) members, who were only several metres away, to fear death or grievous bodily harm and to respond with deadly force.”
“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,” MacDonald concludes.
The IIO investigates any incident that occurs in B.C. in which a person has died or suffered serious physical harm and there appears to be a connection to the actions (or sometimes inaction) of police. The IIO issues reports intended to enhance public confidence in the police and in the justice system as a whole through a transparent and impartial evaluation. In some circumstances, the evidence gathered may be used to support charges against an officer if warranted.
In the June 13, 2022 incident, police received calls of a homicide on a boat at the Discovery Harbour Marina and that the suspect was armed and holding a hostage, the IIO report says. Police arrived at the scene and encountered the now-released hostage walking along the dock, who said the suspect was now alone on the boat and had a firearm with him.
The Emergency Response Team then arrived and took up positions around the boat and initiated negotations. The police became aware that there was a potential for the suspect to attempt “suicide by cop.” Negotiations continued and at one point the suspect indicated he would come out and hung up. He then appeared from behind a black tarp draped over the back well of the boat. He looked along the dock at the ERT members and was told he was under arrrest and to give himself up.
The suspect retreated behind the tarp and was contacted again by phone, the time being around 5:34 a.m. That conversation ended when he put the phone down and was seen to be coming to the dock side of the boat holding a long gun in a “low, ready position.” He was ordered to drop the gun which could be seen sticking out from behind the tarp.
Officers then saw a muzzle flash and heard a gunshot. ERT members then fired a volley of carbine rounds at the suspect, the IIO report says.
The IIO report says forensic examination of the scene and the subject officers’ firearms indicates that three officers fired 31 rounds in total, nine of which hit AP post-mortem.
The susect, identified as Affected Person (AP) in the report, was found deceased under the tarp with a single-shot, 12-gauge shotgun beside him with an expended cartridge in the breech. Inside the wheelhouse of the boat was a loaded semi-automatic .22-calibre rifle.
“AP died from a shotgun blast into his head through the mouth, which was clearly self-inflicted. The post-mortem wounds in his body were the result of shots fired by ERT members on the dock in response to AP’s single shot, which were justifiable in the circumstances,” MacDonald says in his report.