Man dies after being shot by Transit Police in Surrey
Published Sunday, December 28, 2014 11:00AM PST
Last Updated Monday, December 29, 2014 7:26PM PST
B.C.’s police watchdog is investigating after a Transit Police officer shot a man at a grocery store in Surrey.
The shooting happened just after 8 a.m. Sunday, according to the Independent Investigations Office, which probes police-related serious injury or death.
Details are unclear, but the IIO said a man "came into contact" with Transit Police officers at the Safeway on King George Boulevard near 104th Avenue when he was shot.
He was loaded into an ambulance on a stretcher and taken to hospital, where he later died.
A Transit Police spokeswoman said the man was reportedly distraught inside of the store before he encountered the officers.
She said she could not confirm reports circulating that the man stabbed himself inside Safeway and was brandishing a knife during his encounter with police.
“We have information and reports that the deceased was self-inflicting, we do not have that confirmed at this time,” said the IIO’s Kellie Kilpatrick. “In terms of making threats, those are the questions our investigators will be asking.”
Transit Police were the first to respond to the incident because they were just steps away at Surrey Central Skytrain Station, Kilpatrick said.
One man said his girlfriend worked at the bakery department in Safeway and encountered the man while he was inside the store.
“He came around the corner, up one of the aisles after her. She tried blocking herself in the bakery with some racks and then he was coming in after her, and I guess that’s when the police took him down,” said Blake Simning. “She’s calmed down now and I just talked to her, she seemed a lot better, but shaking…just to see everything like that going on in front of her, she’s just really stressed out right now.”
Staff and customers were kept inside the Safeway for several hours.
Investigators said they were working to identify witnesses and obtain possible video surveillance of the incident.
The BC Coroners Service is assisting the IIO with confirming the man’s identity and notifying family members.
The IIO said it would release more information as it becomes available.
With files from The Canadian Press