A charge has been approved against a man accused of using a vehicle to hit a police vehicle parked in the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP parking lot with an officer inside.
Lunden Taylor Howard, born in 1994, has been charged with assault of a peace officer with a weapon in the May 12 Duncan incident.
In a release, RCMP say that around 6:30 a.m. on May 12, an officer was in a police vehicle in the parking lot at the detachment when a male suspect drove into the lot and hit the vehicle, injuring the officer.
Shortly after the car crash, one officer approached the scene and drew his firearm. In a release, the RCMP say the officer shot his firearm “at the vehicle,” however, video shared on social media appears to show the officer pointing his gun at the suspect, who had backed away from the vehicle at the time the shot was fired.
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The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the actions of the officer in this incident.
READ MORE: Officer, man injured in early morning Duncan incident: RCMP
In addition to the charge for the Duncan incident, Howard has also been charged for an additional incident in Esquimalt on the same day.
For the Esquimalt incident, he is charged with assault by choking and breach of recognizance.
The RCMP officer shooting Howard is one of the latest incidents of a police officer shooting someone in the province. Ronald MacDonald, the chief civilian director of IIO, tells CHEK News his organization is handling an increase in these investigations.
“We’ve seen a significant rise in police shootings in British Columbia. On average, in the last five years, we had approximately seven officer-involved shootings per fiscal year or 12-month period, our fiscal year runs from April 1 to March 31,” MacDonald said.
“This immediate past fiscal year, we had 26. And this is now, I believe, the fourth officer-involved shooting since April 1.”
READ MORE: IIO BC police shooting investigations almost quadruple over five-year average