The Independent Investigation Office is on the scene after police shot a man in Whalley during a ‘wellness’ check on Friday, April 8, 2022. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)

The Independent Investigation Office is on the scene after police shot a man in Whalley during a ‘wellness’ check on Friday, April 8, 2022. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)

ZYTARUK: Two fatal police shootings in Surrey in 7 days a cause for concern

Either a spectacularly tragic coincidence occurred or something needs fixing, fast

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So let it be written…

I suppose this was likely a situation where you had to be there to understand what exactly led to what, and why.

But it’s not every day you read a headline like “Police shoot and kill man during wellness check in Surrey,” as was the case on the Now-Leader’s website on Friday, (April 8).

This was in Whalley, where police were called to a home that same morning, according to a press release issued by BC RCMP, “to check the wellbeing of a man in crisis, who had threatened self-harm with a weapon in a public place.”

Apparently, the help delivered was made of hot lead. I definitely do not intend to make light of the distraught man’s fate, but literary genres considered, this story approaches satire. These helpers sure put this fellow out of his misery.

Fortunately, there are, at least figuratively speaking, warm blankets and hot cocoa for “all those involved” (except, of course, the deceased). Assistant Commissioner Brian Edwards, in charge of the Surrey RCMP, stated in the press release that “We are ensuring that all those involved are receiving the necessary supports following a traumatic incident such as this.”

Hopefully this support embraces the victim’s family and friends, not just the cavalry. Edwards is a good man, so I expect it will.

READ ALSO: Police shoot and kill man during wellness check in Surrey

READ ALSO: Surrey RCMP officer shoots and kills suspect during early morning chase

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C., the province’s Surrey-based police watchdog, has been tasked with determining the who, what, where, when, why and how of this tragedy, and will then make recommendations as to the next course of action.

The BC RCMP press release stated that the victim was “reportedly in possession of a weapon,” the nature of which has not been disclosed, and that police fired shots, first-aid was administered and the man died in hospital. No further information has been released.

Police have killed people in the line of duty in Surrey before.

Being human, cops are not perfect, just like every last one of us is not infallible. When a police officer begins his or her shift, I imagine they are not expecting to have to make a split-second decision that day that will end someone else’s life, if not their own.

While it’s not my place to judge, seeing as I’m not privy to certain facts salient and otherwise, it is well within my wheelhouse to register deep concern that this is the second police officer-involved shooting death in our city since April 1.

In that first case, just east of Bear Creek Park, a Surrey RCMP officer shot a man dead after police received a report of an armed robbery, and on the heels of a carjacking. Police chased a man on foot, who matched the description of the suspect. The IIO, tasked with investigating this case as well, reported that there was a confrontation before the police officer shot the man.

Police tasked with protecting us perform unsung heroics during any given shift.

That said, the proximity of these two fatal shootings involving police, being a mere seven days apart, suggests either a spectacularly tragic coincidence has occurred – bearing in mind, of course, that these cases each involved unique circumstances – or that something needs fixing in order to prevent more police incidents from going sideways, for lack of a better term.

And sideways these went, because two people are dead.

So let it be done.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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