'We feel like we are in nightmare': family wants IIO decision in death of brother at hands of RCMP
MAPLE RIDGE, B.C. -- Kyaw Din’s four siblings sat side by side Friday in front of a banner that read “Justice for Kyaw,” holding photos that show the three bullet wounds that took his life.
“Every day we miss him,” said Yin Yin, Din’s sister. “Over more than one year and we don’t even know who killed our brother.”
On Aug. 11, 2019, she called 911 because her brother, who suffered from schizophrenia, had not taken medication and his siblings needed help.
“In the past, we call 911 when Kyaw is confus(ed) and police would come and ambulance people would take him to hospital,” Yin Yin explained Friday at a news conference in the backyard of one of the siblings’ homes. “Kyaw was always respectful when they come.”
Yin Yin said she asked police to wait until her siblings arrived, because Kyaw needed a translator.
“My sister was calling me, ‘How far are you?’ I said almost 10 minutes,” said brother Hlashwe Din.
But officers did not wait, the siblings said.
At the time, Ridge Meadows RCMP said Kyaw Din had a knife and they were called to a domestic incident. The Independent Investigations Office – which is tasked with looking into incidents involving police in which members of the public die or are seriously harmed – was called in to investigate.
Yin Yin said she heard three loud gunshots and when her brothers and sister arrived, it was too late.
“We would like to have a truthful answer why they had to kill, why they couldn’t wait 10 minutes,” said Hlashwe.
The family has been waiting for more than a year for the answers, but they may not have to wait much longer.
“The investigation is complete, we're in the decision making phase,” said Ron MacDonald, the IIO’s chief civilian director.
He said in cases like this, when there’s a shooting and a death, the investigations can take longer. Despite the family saying they haven’t heard from the IIO in the last year, MacDonald said there have been at least 30 instances where they were contacted with updates on their investigation.
“This was not a wellness check,” he explained. “This was a case where the police originally received information about a threat of assault. And so their response was to a threat of an assault.”
Yin Yin said that's not true. She was in the house at the time, and was the one to call 911.
“The police statement said Kyaw attacked them with a knife we the family totally disagree with that,” she said. “He was peaceful and when they opened the door he was only a bottle in his hand. I was just a few feet behind the officers.”
The family wants to see charges against the officers and an inquiry into their brother’s death.
“We feel like we are in nightmare, we can’t believe this is happening really,” said Yin Yin.
All four of the siblings describe Din as a man who admired the police and loved Canada, the country they’ve all called home for the last 30 years.
“Every Canada Day he enjoyed buying those souvenirs with maple leaf and pens and hats and he liked wearing them,” she said.
The IIO expects a decision in their investigation to be released in September.