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Inquest jury says family should be allowed to force psychiatric probe

RCMP Insp. Tim Shields holds up photos of Angus David Mitchell during a news conference in Burnaby, B.C. Wednesday, May 30, 2012.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
November 15, 2013 - 7:28 PM

VANCOUVER - A coroner's jury looking into the death of Angus Mitchell has recommended that the Health Ministry consider allowing people to force a mentally ill family member to undergo a psychiatric assessment.

Mitchell was killed in May 2012 in a shootout with police officers who tracked him down after he killed two people and injured a third.

The inquest heard that Mitchell had a history of mental illness and substance abuse, but that wasn't disclosed when he applied for a firearms licence.

Even when Mitchell was arrested under the Mental Health Act for walking into a doctor's clinic with a rifle, he was discharged and given the gun back that he later used to shoot his victims.

Mitchell's father told the inquest that he tried to get his son psychiatric help, but he was told he couldn't be forced to do a psychiatric assessment unless it was ordered by the court.

Among the jury's seven recommendations are that there be thorough reporting for an arrest under the Mental Health Act that include firearms, that those applying for a gun licence include a consent for releasing medical information, and the police database be unified to allow access to officers across the province.

 

BACKGROUND

BURNABY - Paramedics and a trauma doctor who fought to save Angus Mitchell in May 2012 after he was shot by police say they knew the 26-year-old had no chance of surviving multiple gunshot wounds.

Paramedic John Chambers told a coroner's inquest that when he arrived at the scene in Maple Ridge, B.C., he was told by another paramedic that Mitchell was not breathing and had no pulse.

The responders kept trying to resuscitate Mitchell even as he was transported by helicopter to a New Westminster hospital about 30 kilometres away.

Trauma doctor Neil Barclay says he and his team did all they could to revive Mitchell, but the man's heart had stopped and the doctor pronounced him dead.

Mitchell was surrounded and shot multiple times by police shortly after they warned the public that he was suspected of in three shootings, including two murders in Burnaby.

The coroner's inquest has heard that Mitchell had suffered from mental-health and substance-abuse issues.


More to come.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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