Kamloops Mountie cleared of shooting death in Rose Hill gunfire exchange - InfoNews

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Kamloops Mountie cleared of shooting death in Rose Hill gunfire exchange

May 08, 2019 - 10:10 AM

KAMLOOPS — Last fall, a man was left dead after an exchange of gunfire involving two RCMP officers in a rural area just outside of Kamloops.

A report released today, May 8, by the Independent Investigation Office of B.C. clears a Kamloops Mountie of any wrongdoing in the September 2018 death of an impaired man who had been spotted acting “suspiciously” in a camper trailer in the Rose Hill area.

The report says two police officers responded to a call in the early afternoon of September 14, 2018 when a caller says they reported seeing a pickup truck with a trailer parked beside the road. On one side, the trailer was said to be badly burned.

When police officers responded, they found a truck and trailer matching the description they had been given a few hours earlier. Both officers exited their vehicles and called out to the man saying they were RCMP members and stated were checking on his welfare and wanted to confirm the man in the truck had permission to be there.

One officer called out several times for the individual in the truck to come over to him but the man refused, waving his arms and yelling for the officers to leave.

“[The man was] insisting they were just there to put him ‘in handcuffs,’” the report says.

A civilian witness who drove by says he saw the exchanges that were occurring and says both officers appeared relaxed and patient. He also says the man police were dealing with was “cranked up pretty good” and was “rude, bordering on threatening almost…not acting normal.”

One of the officers told dispatch they were “OK right now” but asked for another police unit to “start making their way up here, he’s a little hostile.”

The officer at the centre of the investigation then decided to walk up to the driver’s side of the truck to find a licence plate. The report says the man reacted angrily and said, “you guys are in for it.”

The witness officer who was standing in front of his vehicle drew his sidearm and held at “low ready” and told the other officer to get out of there right now.

Moments later, the witness officer saw a barrel of a firearm appear out of the trailer door and heard it fire in is direction. The officer said he could hear further shots being fired and heard the shotgun being reloaded.

The other officer on scene opened his police vehicle door to retrieve his service carbine. The witness officer says he then heard shots that did not sound like either the shotgun or a pistol.

“The [man] fell backwards, firing his shotgun straight up into the air as he fell,” the report says.

The witness officer radioed to the other officer “he’s down in front of his trailer, I can’t see him right now, he’s in the grass.”

It wasn’t until Emergency Response Team resources arrived that it was confirmed the man was dead.

The autopsy determined the cause of the man’s death was a gunshot wound to the head. The bullet had entered above and behind the left ear and exited the right ear. The toxicology report concludes there was a mild level of intoxication from alcohol and methamphetamine.

The Investigations Office of B.C. concludes there was nothing to suggest either involved officer acted inappropriately in their approach to the distressed man. They were authorized to make the routine inquiry of the individual they had found apparently camping on private land in suspicious circumstances.

“Both officers were entirely justified in returning gunfire in self-defence and in defence of each other when fired directly and repeatedly upon by [the man] and cannot be said to have used excessive force in doing,” the report said.

Neither police vehicle had a working dash cam at the time of the incident. The officer who fired the deadly shot declined to be interviewed by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. or provide notes or reports.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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