RCMP officers shot and killed a man Tuesday morning, June 14, 2016 in Nanaimo, British Columbia. Officers reportedly responded at 10:20 AM to a report of a man carrying a knife at the parking lot of a Dairy Queen at Norwell Drive and Highway 19A.
Two Nanaimo RCMP members initially arrived at the scene locating the man they believed to be the suspect along nearby Country Club Drive. The man was engaged by officers and during the encounter multiple shots were fired with the man being struck fatally. The victim was taken by ambulance to hospital where he died of injuries inflicted by the officers.
The shooting was reported by neighbors as occurring around 10:40 AM when neighbors near St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at the corner of Wassell Way and Departure Bay Road first heard what they believed to be gunshots.
Neighbors reported hearing two shots distinctly. A neighbor near the scene of the shooting related: “It’s pretty scary, I’d never heard anything like that.” According to another neighbor: “I saw an ambulance here, firetrucks, like, I thought maybe it was some kind of movie set going on at first and then I realized that was real life” (quoted in Yu 2016). Reported Sonjia Grandahl, a nearby resident: “I just heard some bang, bang and I knew it didn’t sound right” (quoted in Yu 2016). Rob Waine, a member of nearby St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, heard the gunshots while at a meeting inside the church. In his account: “I heard thunder, maybe around 10:30 [AM] and then maybe five or 10 minutes later I hear popping sounds, maybe a couple, that’s about all” (quoted in Yu 2016).
The Independent Investigations Office (IIO), the unit that investigates cases of police violence against civilians in British Columbia, reported that it had been notified about an officer involved shooting in Nanaimo at around noon. This raises some questions about the timeline of police notification to the IIO about the shooting and about the integrity of the crime scene in the period before IIO were notified and able to reach the scene. Local reporter Karl Yu reported that uniformed and plain clothes RCMP members were all over the area even as the investigation was supposed to start.
This is the second known killing by RCMP in Nanaimo, a small city, in recent years. RCMP shot and killed Jeffery Scott Hughes, 48, on October 23, 2009.
Canadian Press. 2016. “Investigation Launched after Man Fatally Shot by Nanaimo RCMP.” The Province. June 14. http://www.theprovince.com/news/investigation+launched+after+fatally+shot+nanaimo+rcmp/11985907/story.html
Yu, Karl. 2016. “Police Watchdog Headed to Nanaimo after Officer Involved in Shooting.” Nanaimo News Bulletin. June 14. http://www.nanaimobulletin.com/news/383001811.html