SURREY, B.C. – Police officers acted appropriately in dealing with a carjacking suspect as they attempted to arrest him at a ferry terminal in Nanaimo before he was fatally shot, British Columbia’s police watchdog said in a report released Monday.
The report from the Independent Investigations Office determined that the male, whose name and age have not released, shot himself as police also opened fire during the confrontation on May 8 at the Departure Bay ferry terminal .
It says police opened fire on the male as he raised a long-barrelled handgun.
The report says while his intention was to shoot himself, it was impossible for police to know that he did not intend to shoot the officers who had tried to arrest him.
“That was his only intention,” the report says. “However, as he did this, the gun would have been pointed at several police officers.”
It says at that point, police had reasonable grounds to use lethal force.
While the report says the evidence shows the man only intended to take his own life, there was no way of knowing that he wasn’t going to shoot at the officers who had tried to arrest him.
The officers had to act quickly to protect themselves, their fellow officers and the public, it says.
“Indeed, that was their duty at law.”
RCMP officers had been called to the Departure Bay terminal to arrest a male in connection with allegations of a violent carjacking in Penticton, B.C.
An autopsy determined the cause of death to be multiple gunshot wounds.
The report also includes toxicology results, which show the suspect had a high dose of fentanyl in his body but it adds that toxicity is dependent on individual tolerance and how the drug was administered.
It concludes that the male “appeared to be in a desperate state,” and his actions presented a life-threatening situation to the police.
“Their actions were both justified and consistent with their duties as police officers,” the report says.