Independent Investigations Office
For Immediate Release
Surrey, B.C. – The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of BC is concluding an investigation into an incident in Merritt.
As noted in our previous media release, on December 5, 2020 at approximately 4:40 p.m., officers inside the Merritt RCMP detachment heard a gun shot outside and went to determine the source. Video from a nearby vehicle and forensic assessment of the scene indicates that the gunfire came from a man who had pulled up in a nearby parking lot and exited his vehicle carrying a rifle. When the officers exited the detachment, they saw the man armed with a rifle pointed in their direction and took cover. The video also shows a vehicle, later confirmed to be a police SUV, arriving around the same time when the man turned his rifle in that direction but did not fire. The police vehicle then retreated.
The video shows that the man then turned the rifle on himself and died as a result of his injury. At no point did any officer discharge their firearm.
The Chief Civilian Director has reviewed the evidence – including video, statements of independent civilian witnesses and scene analysis reports – and determined that the police played no role in the tragic death of the man. The investigation is therefore concluded.
The IIO is the independent civilian oversight agency of the police in British Columbia. It investigates all officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death, whether or not there is any allegation of wrongdoing.
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