Cop cleared in fatal shooting

SURREY – The Surrey-based Independent Investigations Office (IIO) has cleared a Mountie of any wrongdoing in connection with the fatal shooting of a suicidal and intoxicated man in the city’s north end.

“Based on the evidence obtained as a result of the investigation, I cannot conclude that the subject officer may have committed any offence in this case,” Chief Civilian Director Richard Rosenthal, head of the police watchdog agency, wrote in his report.

The shooting happened on Jan. 17, 2014.

Police were called out at 9:09 p.m. about a possibly suicidal man, spoke with his landlords and an officer went with his police dog to look for the man. Less than five minutes into the search, the man was shot in the chest and killed. No witnesses saw the shooting.

A suicide note was found in the man’s suite, as well as ammo. One officer interviewed said he heard the subject officer screaming, “Help, help, I am over here” and something like, “I got him, I got him, I am right here.”

It was dark and foggy. He took out his flashlight, found the subject officer on top of the man, holding him down and holding one arm, and ran over to help. The man was then handcuffed.

A Mossberg 12-gauge pump action shotgun was found near him. Police rolled the man over to find a large spot of blood on his chest, removed the handcuffs and tried to revive him. They also removed two live rounds from the shotgun’s magazine and barrel. Seven police officers and 10 civilians were interviewed by the IIO.

A pathologist determined the man was impaired and died from major blood loss within seconds to minutes after the officer fired two shots at him.

Rosenthal said the IIO’s investigation was “impacted” by the decision of one officer to remove the shotgun from the scene and “make it safe.” This, he said, made it impossible for IIO investigators to verify it had been in “ready to fire” condition after the first shot was fired.

Tom Zytaruk