The province’s police watchdog has launched an investigation after a man was shot by an officer, and subsequently died, during an attempted arrest in Sunnybrae.
The Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia (IIO BC) announced Wednesday, Jan. 8, that it had been notified of the shooting and is now investigating police actions and how they relate to the man’s death.
According to the IIO, on Tuesday, Jan. 7, at approximately 6:40 p.m., Salmon Arm RCMP received a complaint of mischief at a home in Tappen. The complainant indicated somebody had severely damaged their property.
Responding officers located a male suspect at a neighbouring residence, where an attempted arrest was called off due to risk.
The IIO says officers then set up a containment perimeter and contacted an RCMP Emergency Response Team to assist with the arrest.
“A warrant to enter the home was granted, and officers deployed a chemical agent in an attempt to make the man leave the residence,” says the IIO. “The man did leave and attempted to flee the area. In the resulting interaction between a police officer and the man, he was shot.
“The male died and no one else was injured during the incident.”
The incident did not go unnoticed by neighbours.
On Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 8, yellow police tape was hanging across Bastion Road in Sunnybrae as RCMP officers and several police vehicles were seen at a rural property where a neighbour reported hearing a loud bang followed by multiple gunshots in the early hours of the morning.
The neighbour, who requested anonymity, said he noticed something was up Tuesday night when he saw an ambulance parked near the local firehall. Soon after, he saw police vehicles roll in.
“As soon as those three other cops showed up… there had to be maybe 10 cars there but you couldn’t really tell because there were no lights on.”
Later on, the neighbour heard a series of alarming noises that started with a loud “bang,” followed by the sound of an alarm and dogs barking.
“I heard four shots right away with what sounded like handguns, then I heard what I’m assuming was the homeowner just screaming out in pain.”
The neighbour said he heard approximately 10 shots in total.
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.