Officer responding to Yaletown shooting may have committed offence: IIO
Published Thursday, August 27, 2015 7:13PM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 27, 2015 7:46PM PDT
B.C.’s police watchdog has finished reviewing the police response to a 2014 shooting in downtown Vancouver and determined an officer may have committed an offence.
The Independent Investigations Office, which probes all serious and fatal police incidents in the province, announced Thursday it has submitted a report to Crown about the June 10 incident, which ended with a shootout just outside Science World.
No information on what offence the officer may have committed has been released, as the IIO does not recommend or lay charges. That decision will be up to the Criminal Justice Branch.
The shooting that triggered the police response was committed in the busy Yaletown neighbourhood in broad daylight.
Accused gunman Gerald Battersby allegedly opened fire on his former employer, Reckless Bike Shop owner Paul Dragan, then fled the area on a bicycle.
Officers who witnessed the shooting gave chase, leading to two shootouts, first on Davie Street then again at Science World. Battersby was shot numerous times but survived.
Lawyer Brock Martland is representing the suspect on six charges of attempted murder, five involving police officers, at a preliminary hearing in November.
Martland told CTV News he’s interested in reading the IIO’s findings, but said they’re unlikely to significantly affect his case.
“In mechanical terms, actually going into the courtroom and dealing with the preliminary hearing, I don’t think this will make a huge difference,” he said.
Dragan, who was shot just steps from his store, underwent surgery for a single gunshot wound that left him in critical condition. He has since recovered, but said he’s still not 100 per cent.
“Physically I’m almost there, I just don’t have the stamina I had before,” Dragan said. “I can do all the exercise I did before, but I do half as much and I rest twice as much.”
Dragan said he has nothing but respect for what first responders did the day he was shot in the street.
“I can’t say I understand their job but I certainly appreciate the job that they do,” he said.
The Vancouver Police Department issued a statement Thursday applauding the bravery of officers who responded to the shooting, but highlighting the importance of police oversight.
“We believe it is important for the public to see that their police officers are accountable for their actions,” Const. Brian Montague said.
“It is important to understand that this is not a recommendation of charges… The officers involved in this shooting will continue to have our complete support through this process.”
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Scott Hurst