Two men involved in fatal RCMP shooting in Dawson Creek
Laura Kane, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, July 16, 2015 10:48PM PDT
Last Updated Saturday, July 18, 2015 7:17PM PDT
Update: A spokeswoman for B.C.'s police watchdog says two men, not one, were involved in the fatal RCMP shooting in Dawson Creek.
Kellie Kilpatrick of the Independent Investigations Office says her organization initially reported on Thursday evening that an individual who caused a disturbance at the B-C Hydro event came into contact with police outside and was shot.
But she says the man who allegedly caused the disturbance left the area and police shot a second, unrelated man who was aggressive and did not follow police commands.
Kilpatrick says she doesn't know how the man shot was misidentified, but notes a knife was seized at the scene and eight IIO members are now in Dawson Creek.
Original Story: Witness video has emerged and appears to show the aftermath of a fatal RCMP shooting outside a public hearing for the contentious Site C dam in Dawson Creek, B.C.
In the video posted on Facebook, two officers with their guns drawn are standing over a man in a grey hoodie while he is slumped on the ground.
"The cops just ... shot this guy," says a man in a profanity-filled narrative as he records the video. "He's ... dead. There's blood everywhere."
The video appears to have been taken on a cell phone from a room in the Stonebridge Hotel overlooking the Fixx Urban Grill restaurant where a BC Hydro public information session took place.
One officer appears to kick something away from the man although the object cannot be seen. The man moves slightly on the ground before becoming still as blood pools beneath him.
Sirens can be heard in the background as a third Mountie arrives. One of the officers appears to bring the man's hands behind his back to handcuff him.
Police appear to check his vital signs before opening the trunk of a cruiser and starting to administer first aid about two minutes into the video.
Several other officers eventually appear. One crouches near a cruiser with a long gun just before the video ends.
British Columbia's police watchdog, the Independent Investigations Office, has begun investigating the shooting but has provided few details.
IIO spokeswoman Kellie Kilpatrick said Dawson Creek RCMP responded around 6:30 p.m. Thursday to a report of a man creating a disturbance and destroying property.
"The individual was escorted from the event and subsequently came into contact with police just outside," she said. "Our information from police is that he was non-compliant with their directions and an altercation took place and he was shot."
A six-member team flew to Dawson Creek on Friday morning. Kilpatrick said a forensic specialist was to take over the scene while investigators spoke with witnesses and secured any video.
Kilpatrick said it was early in the investigation and she had no further details on the confrontation between the man and police, including whether he was armed.
She said the IIO would not identify the officers and that the BC Coroners Service would release the dead man's name.
BC Hydro chief communications officer Steve Vanagas said in a statement late Friday afternoon that the company was awaiting more details from police about the "tragic incident."
He said all employees who were inside the hotel and were staffing the information session were moved to a safe location and none were directly involved.
Mounties have said they encountered a man wearing a mask outside the venue and believed he was connected to the call about a disturbance and destruction of property.
Despite attempts to de-escalate the situation, there was a confrontation and the unidentified man was shot and later died in hospital, RCMP said.
The meeting in Dawson Creek was the last of five public consultations on the Site C dam held in the province this month.
The hearings have attracted dissent. A YouTube video shows a small band of Treaty 8 First Nations protesters interrupted a July 9 hearing in Fort St. John with a drum procession and speeches.
The province granted approval earlier this month for the first phase of construction to start on the $9-billion dam on the Peace River.
Several First Nations and environmental groups have filed lawsuits to try to stop construction and the actions are currently working their way through the courts.
Mike Bernier, who represents the Peace River South riding for the Liberals in the B.C. legislature, said it was still unclear whether the police confrontation was connected to the Site C hearing.
"Any time there's a loss of life, regardless of the circumstances, it's very unfortunate and my thoughts and prayers go out to everybody involved: the RCMP, the family of the deceased, everyone," he said.
"It's obviously a troubling situation."