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Indigenous father of 7 identified as man who died after being shot with Vancouver police beanbag gun

An Indigenous man who died after being shot with a police beanbag gun on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside has been identified by his family.

A family member said the man was Winnipeg resident Chris Amyotte, a father of seven.

He'd come to Vancouver on Aug. 17 to visit his two eldest children and other family members when the trip, and his life, were unexpectedly cut short.

"It's a tough one to process. Most of the family is traumatized by the circumstances of his passing," said Samantha Wilson, Amyotte's cousin.

The incident happened Monday morning in the Downtown Eastside.

Several witnesses reported seeing a man flailing in agony after being hit with bear spray.

They told CTV News the man was running while taking off his clothes and at one point, he was pouring milk over himself to relieve the pain.

"We were all shouting at police that he was bear sprayed and he needed help and they didn't listen to us," Nicholas Green told CTV News on Monday.

"He's in pain. The police is supposed to help."

Wilson said based on the family’s understanding, Amyotte was not the intended target of the bear spray attack.

“He was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” she said.

Vancouver police confirmed there was an "interaction" between the man and the officers.

They said a beanbag gun was discharged, which they described as a non-lethal tool used by trained officers when people aren't complying or are displaying violent behaviour.

Amyotte was taken into police custody where he went into medical distress and lost consciousness. The Vancouver Police Department said efforts to revive him were not successful.

The Independent Investigations Office is now investigating to see if the officers' actions played a role in Amyotte's death.

Wilson said her cousin had just celebrated his 42nd birthday earlier this month.

He is the father of seven children, some of whom are too young to understand their father's death.

Wilson said Amyotte is being remembered as a family man, who fiercely loved his children and was there to take care of his parents.

"He always laughed from the pit of his belly. He always had the best jokes and he was just really outgoing," she said.

She said his family hopes the IIO's investigation will shed some light into what happened to help bring them closure and answers. Top Stories

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