The IIO released two cropped photos taken by a city of Kelowna employee just before the shooting.

Investigation justifies shooting of homeless man by B.C. RCMP officer

Incident won’t be referred to Crown counsel for consideration of charges

An independent investigation has found a Kelowna RCMP female officer should not face charges after shooting a homeless man in August 2017.

An investigation of the incident by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. found the police officer acted in an appropriate measure when she and a City of Kelowna worker were confronted by an angry man advancing toward them waving a large axe handle in a threatening manner.

“I do not consider that an officer may have committed an offence under any enactment and therefore the matter will not be referred to Crown counsel for consideration of charges,” stated the report, co-submitted by IIO chief civilian director Ronald MacDonald and general counsel Clinton Sadlemyer.

RELATED: RCMP officer involved in Kelowna shooting

The investigation focused on conflicting accounts of how the shooting unfolded based on interviews with the individual shot in the shoulder, a serious but non-life threatening wound, and both the police officer and city worker.

On Aug. 3, 2017, beginning at about 12:55 p.m., the police officer and city worker responded to a complaint of an unauthorized homeless camp near Duck Lake Road, finding a tent or tarp lined up against a large tree near a steep embankment.

As the neared the tent, they were approached by an individual carrying an axe handle. Ignoring repeated requests by the police officer to drop the axe handle over about a 10-minute interaction, the police officer retreated until stopped by a wire fence.

The shooting victim claimed he was using the axe handle as a crutch after suffering a spider bite on the side of his knee earlier that morning which required medical treatment.

After one final warning and voiced concern from the city worker that the man “was getting …to goddamn close,” the officer fired a shot from a distance of about 5.5 metres.

The shooting victim had contested the officer used excessive force by shooting him, which could lead to charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault or assault causing bodily harm.

But the investigation found his account that he did not leave the area where his tent was pitched or advance on the police office were contradicted by two photographs taken by the city worker as the scene unfolded.

“The comments to (the shooting victim) by the police officer, as related by the (city worker), indicate the officer appropriately attempted to de-escalate the situation while at the same time protecting herself and the (city worker),” the report concluded.

“It was certainly reasonable for (the police officer) to conclude that this non-compliant and angry male with a significant weapon could easily cause her imminent grievous bodily harm.”



barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

UPDATED: 24-hour closure coming to Tofino-Ucluelet highway this weekend

Hwy. 4 at Kennedy Hill will be shut down from 11 a.m. Feb. 22 to at 11 a.m. Feb. 23.

Ucluelet resident sounds alarm over ‘environmental disaster’

Central Westcoast Forest Society estimates bridge project at Hyphocus Island could cost $1M.

Senior A Basketball: Maaqtusiis senior teams take on the Island Championships

Senior girls play at Duncan Christian and senior boys at Nanaimo Christian this weekend.

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Forest industry protests northern B.C. caribou protection deal

B.C. Mining Association supports federal-Indigenous plan

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

Trudeau: Time for blockades to end and Indigenous leaders to work with government

Prime minister says situation in Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute is ‘unacceptable and untenable’

RCMP clarifies stance on removing officers from Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C.

Police say will remove officers only if hereditary chiefs keep road open to pipeline workers

Most Read