Police shooting inquest hears RCMP didn't shout warning
Published Tuesday, March 27, 2012 3:46PM PDT
An inquest into the police shooting death of a young Langley father has heard that Mounties entered Alvin Wright's bedroom with guns drawn and without shouting a warning.
Alvin Wright, 22, was shot to death on Aug. 7, 2010 after police say they found him drunk and armed with a hunting knife when they responded to calls of a possible domestic dispute.
A coroner's inquest heard Tuesday that rookie RCMP Const. Luan Nguyen was the first on the scene. He'd only been on the job for the three months and was unsupervised.
When he arrived he found Wright's common-law wife Heather Hannon, whom Wright had locked out of the house after a night of drinking. Nguyen knew Hannon wasn't hurt, but failed to pass that information on to his fellow officers.
Three other Mounties entered the home and walked up the stairs to Wright's bedroom without a plan, without making a verbal warning and with their guns out, according to inquest testimony.
Two of the officers have told the inquest that Wright was found crouching in a closet with a large knife in his hand and when he stood up suddenly, he was shot.
Wright's father Allan told reporters that he wasn't impressed with how police handled the situation.
"You've got four police officers going stampeding into a home with no just cause and apparently no legal right to, and none of them announced they were police officers," he said outside the inquest.
"There's no accountability for anything."
Also on Tuesday, the inquest heard a recording of a conversation between Hannon and an emergency dispatcher. Hannon made three 911 calls on her cell phone after she was locked out of the townhome.
"He's inside the house and I'm outside on the driveway. My landlord says I'm going to be evicted because I'm causing a disturbance," she told the operator.
She has said she will never call police for help again.
Last week, Police Complaints Commissioner Stan Lowe ruled that the three officers involved in Wright's death used reasonable force and the case will not be forwarded to prosecutors for charge assessment.
Lowe wrote that Sgt. Donald Davidson had reason to fear for his life when he shot Alvin Wright in the abdomen.
The inquest is scheduled to last until Friday, and the jury will have a chance to make recommendations to prevent similar deaths in the future.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Peter Grainger