Man dies after falling from West End apartment, IIO investigating
Published Sunday, July 14, 2019 10:25AM PDT
Last Updated Sunday, July 14, 2019 6:31PM PDT
Vancouver police were called to a ninth-floor apartment around noon Saturday, after reports a man was throwing large items out of his West End high-rise.
"We saw items falling from up above," said James Strand who lives in the high-rise. "TV, bicycle, chairs, it was pretty crazy."
His partner called 911. Strand told CTV News there was a large group of people standing on Bidwell street watching and yelling at him to stop.
Strand believes the man was throwing the items, "because he almost hit one of the cars across the street here."
Officers arrived to find TVs and bicycles being tossed onto the ground on Bidwell Street near Haro Street, putting anyone walking by at risk.
"So much junk was there," a woman told CTV News at the scene Sunday. "You can see the broken glass all over the place."
Police entered the suite and said the man appeared distraught. At that point, Strand said, he thought the commotion was over.
"I was standing on my balcony with a cup of coffee, and then he fell," he said.
Strand watched as police tried to resuscitate the man.
"They worked on him for about maybe a half an hour," he said.
The man was pronounced dead at the scene. Strand believes the entire incident was only 20 or 30 minutes long.
Witnesses describe seeing a large response from first responders.
"Five or six vans, police cars and there must have been a dozen police," one man told CTV News.
According to Strand, the deceased man lived in an apartment with two other people.
"They're all young, they're all in their 20s," he said.
He believes the man who died is from South America and moved in about a month ago.
"I don't know if they knew him that well," Strand said.
He went on to say he believes everything thrown from the ninth floor unit belonged to the roommates who had to come down and collect their belongings.
"The girl was physically, you know, upset and just sobbing," said Strand, "The young man was total shock. They just could not believe it. That this had happened."
Later in the afternoon he said city crews came by the unit and cleaned up the mess.
The Independent Investigations Office has now been called to investigate.
The IIO is tasked with investigating any police-involved incident that results in death or serious injury.
It is asking anyone who witnessed the incident or may have footage of the incident to contact its witness line: 1-855-446-8477.