Family of B.C. man shot by Mountie says coroner’s inquest scheduled
Published Monday, October 14, 2019 6:26PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, October 14, 2019 7:11PM PDT
VANCOUVER - The family of a man shot and killed by an RCMP officer five years ago in southeastern B.C. is hoping for answers at an upcoming coroner’s inquest.
Peter de Groot was fatally shot by police at a remote cabin in the Slocan area in October 2014 after a four-day manhunt. Mounties said the 45-year-old exchanged gunfire with officers who initially came to his home, and then fled.
His sister Danna de Groot told CTV News Vancouver a coroner’s inquest has now been scheduled for next spring in Nelson. She said his family is hoping for answers to a number of questions, including why police attended his home in the first place, and why she was prevented from contacting him in an attempt to bring the situation to an end.
“He was very, very special to a lot of people. He was super intelligent,” de Groot said. She said her brother had been a PhD candidate, but suffered an aneurysm at age 29. She said after that, he worked hard to build the kind of life he wanted: independent and close to nature. She shared home video of de Groot walking puppies with neighbourhood children, which she said showcased his “sweet nature and personality very well.”
“He was not the person they portrayed him to be,” de Groot said.
In a conference call with media, de Groot read a written statement on behalf of her family, outlining a number of areas they want to know more about, including her brother’s initial encounter with police, the circumstances surrounding his death, and the investigation that followed.
“After five years, there remains nothing to show that our brother had committed any offence to warrant police attending his home in the first place,” the statement read.
“The complete and utter violation of his human rights that our brother’s death entailed has caused great suffering and damage to the people that loved and cared for him.”
Last year, the officer who shot and killed de Groot was cleared of wrongdoing by the Independent Investigations Office. That officer, Cpl. Brian Burke, is now suing the police watchdog, claiming their lengthy investigation worsened the post-traumatic stress disorder he had been diagnosed with prior to the fatal shooting.
The family of de Groot also has a civil lawsuit against the RCMP, which they said is being deferred until the inquest concludes.
His sister said she hopes something will change, so that deaths like her brothers can be prevented in the future.
The exact date for the inquest has yet to be set.