Moun­tie found jus­ti­fied in fir­ing on armed man

The Daily Courier - - KELOWNA - By AN­DREA PEA­COCK

A Kelowna RCMP of­fi­cer was jus­ti­fied in shoot­ing an il­le­gal cam­per in the sum­mer of 2017, B.C.’s po­lice watch­dog has ruled.

On Aug. 3, 2017, a Moun­tie and a City of Kelowna em­ployee re­sponded to a com­plaint about an unau­tho­rized camp.

On ar­rival, they en­coun­tered a man who ap­proached them car­ry­ing an axe han­dle.

Dur­ing the en­counter, the of­fi­cer shot the man.

The RCMP then no­ti­fied the In­de­pen­dent In­ves­ti­ga­tions Of­fice of B.C., the agency that in­ves­ti­gates all of­fi­cer-re­lated in­ci­dents re­sult­ing in se­ri­ous harm or death.

The is­sue in this case was whether the of­fi­cer used ex­ces­sive force by shoot­ing the cam­per, Ronald Mac­Don­ald, chief civil­ian di­rec­tor of the IIO, wrote in a re­port re­leased Thurs­day.

The vic­tim told the IIO he did not have a res­i­dence and an ac­quain­tance had showed him the camp.

He said he had lived there for about six months with­out is­sue.

The city worker said the man was yelling and mov­ing to­ward them, car­ry­ing the axe han­dle.

As he was ap­proach­ing, the man said, “You’re go­ing to have to shoot me. I’m not leav­ing here.”

When the man re­fused to drop the weapon, the of­fi­cer and the city worker backed away, re­treat­ing to­ward a wire fence.

“Look, I don’t want to have to shoot you, but you do have to lay your weapon down,” the of­fi­cer said. “We have to make this scene safe for both (the City of Kelowna worker) and my­self.” She then shot him. The city worker took two pho­tos of the man as he was ap­proach­ing.

An anal­y­sis of the pho­tos es­ti­mated the man was 5.5 me­tres away from the of­fi­cer when he was shot.

The IIO found it was rea­son­able for the of­fi­cer to con­clude the man could eas­ily have caused her im­mi­nent griev­ous bod­ily harm.

“The five-me­tre dis­tance could be closed by him very quickly,” Mac­Don­ald said. “It was there­fore rea­son­able for the of­fi­cer to act in de­fence of her­self and (the city worker) by shoot­ing (the man).”

The fact the man failed to com­ply with any di­rec­tion from the of­fi­cer made the per­ceived threat worse, he added.

“While she at­tempted to re­treat to safety, she found her­self blocked by the fence.”

The mat­ter will not be re­ferred to Crown coun­sel for con­sid­er­a­tion of charges.

The man, who was taken to the hos­pi­tal with a wound that was se­ri­ous but not life threat­en­ing, has fully re­cov­ered, Mac­Don­ald noted.

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