The Independent Investigation Office of BC (IIO) has found an RCMP officer was justified in the shooting of a man at Bear Creek Provincial Park in September of 2019.
The incident occurred on Sept. 13, 2019, after officers received reports of a man attempting to jump in front of a vehicle near Westside Road while waving a stick shortly after 1 a.m.
The responding officer later located the man thought to be linked to the complaint, walking in the middle of the road while carrying gardening shears in the provincial park.
The officer pulled up in a marked police car and was armed with a baton, OC spray and a pistol, but did not have a tazer. The Mountie then ordered the suspect to put down what he was carrying and identify himself, but the suspect ran off instead.
According to the IIO, the suspect told police he “didn’t want to become a victim of police brutality”, so “took off running”.
The officer then informed the suspect he was under arrest for obstruction.
In response, the suspect pulled out a knife and threatened to kill him with it, occasionally making stabbing movements towards the officer.
“The only way you are going to arrest me is if you kill me,” said the suspect.
The officer claimed he was trying to get the man under control but was concerned for the safety of the people in the campground.
According to the IIO report, the suspect raised a “spear” and took a step consistent with being about to throw it.
The officer moved in to make an arrest but altercation occurred and the suspect was shot in the buttox by the officer. The man then fled, jumping into the Okanagan Lake where he wound up on a log boom.
From there he tried to evade police for nine hours.
Police officers both on the shore and on the water negotiated with the man and he was taken into police custody at 7:21 a.m.
The man received immediate medical assistance and his injuries were non-life-threatening.
IIO BC is mandated to conduct investigations into police-related incidents of death or serious harm to determine whether or not an officer may have committed an offence.